Around 60 people camping in Maximilen Park set up a symbolic camp with around 30 tents on Friday evening. This new camp is opposite the local Quai de Willebroeck: the services offered by the Refugee citizen support platform were moved there before a camp in Maximilien Park was dismantled on Thursday.
The Refugee citizen support platform, which was looking after the camp, announced it would stop its activities in Maximilien Park on Tuesday, as it “refuses to give the authorities an alibi for their inaction.” The camp was dismantled on Thursday, and the asylum seekers staying there were moved to the WTC III temporary housing centre, managed by the Red Cross, or to host families.
Around 150 people stayed behind, mostly unregistered people. Police destroyed the kitchen with excavators and fenced off the park on Friday. The unregistered people and asylum seekers eventually left for fear of being arrested. They then marched to the building made available by the Refugee citizen support platform. They decided to set up a camp in front of it.
“The aim of the new symbolic camp is to show that we are still here, and not stopping the fight”, says Mohammed, spokesman for the Collective mobilisation group 2009. “We feel betrayed by the Citizen platform as the unregistered people were the first to welcome the refugees to Maximilen Park and create this platform. We want to bring the refugee and the unregistered people cause’s together, as today’s unregistered people are yesterday’s refugees and today’s refugees are tomorrow’s unregistered people. We have been living here for a long time, we want to be made legal and have our cases updated. We were betrayed by the government in 2009, and today, we have been betrayed by the platform. They decided to raze the camp without consulting our volunteers, the refugees and the unregistered people”.
Victor Gamarra, who says the cell is in crisis, explains they are looking for a long-term housing solution for both refugees and unregistered people.