150 asylum seekers from Paleizenstraat squat spend the night on the street
The squat on the Paleizenstraat in Schaarbeek
(Brussels) where asylum seekers and homeless people had been staying has been
completely cleared, but the intention of the Brussels government, to provide
accommodation for all registered asylum seekers as the law requires,
failed. Some of the asylum seekers were
obliged to spend the night sleeping rough on the streets of the Belgian capital.
It’s estimated that no accommodation was
provided for around 150 asylum seekers.
Many headed for the Klein Kasteeltje reception centre, where they joined
other asylum seekers who have been camping out on the street for weeks. By last night the tent camp had swelled to
over 50 tents often with 3 people to a tent.
In between the tent others slept in only a blanket. “The problem has switched location but isn’t
sorted” says VRT’s Marjan Temmerman.
The rough sleepers have received no
information from the authorities about what will happen with them next. “Most possess a smartphone but no
subscription. They visit the Red Cross aid
post to connect to Wi-Fi and check whether they have received an invitation to
go to a reception place. That could take up to 4 months. Meanwhile they had been promised
accommodation and food” says Marjan Temmerman.
“In recent weeks accommodation has been
provided for around 750 asylum seekers from the Paleizenstraat squat”.
The plan was to take the remaining
registered asylum seekers to temporary accommodation in the Brussels region
ahead of a regular place, but that clearly failed.
Asylum seekers in the squat had been given
a blue wristband to distinguish them from other asylum seekers who attempted to
join the queue and receive accommodation.
There are stories of desperate people who sold their wristband.
Buses arriving at the squat on Tuesday to
collect residents were stormed. Social
workers and volunteers spoke of “total chaos and poor organisation”. Of the 300
people remaining Wednesday 156 were taken to a hotel in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw (Flemish