A group of protesters have gathered in front of Brussels’ Palace of Justice to demonstrate against the seizing of their property during a large-scale police operation conducted Tuesday across Belgium. In video footage captured by Sudinfo, a group of around a dozen people, including a few children, can be seen speaking to police in front of the city’s justice courts.
“Members of the travelling community have come to talk and to demand their property be returned to them,” one member of the group told reporters. “They took caravans and other property —without exception,” he said referring to the vehicles and other valuables police seized during the operation.
Around a hundred caravans and other vehicles were seized during a police operation targetting a vehicle trafficking gang. According to a spokesperson for the Brussels public prosecutor, cash and other valuables were also seized by police units during the operation, which targeted caravan camping lots.
“People are not happy at all. A whole community should not have to pay for the trafficking of one person or group,” the 33-year-old man added.
Women taking part in the protest also pointed out that after the seizing of their live-in caravans, they were left with no place to sleep.
Thirty arrests were made in Tuesday’s raids —which were the result of a 20-year investigation and are thought to be one of the most extensive police operations conducted in Belgium.
The detainees, suspected of being part of an organised vehicle fraud ring, face criminal charges including fraud and criminal conspiracy.