Around 200 people spend another night in tents opposite registration centre
Around 200 people have spent another night in tents opposite a building in the centre of Brussels where asylum seekers register their asylum claim. Dozens of tents provide at least some shelter to those forced to sleep on the streets near to the Klein Kasteeltje registration centre. The lion’s share of these are asylum seekers and as such are entitled to a place in a reception centre. However, there are too few places available.
The evacuation of a squat in Schaarbeek (Brussels) earlier this week where hundreds of people, many of whom asylum seekers had been living in squalid conditions, has only served to swell the number of people sleeping outside the Klein Kasteeltje registration centre.
Earlier this week a squat on the Paleizenstraat in Schaarbeek, where until recently around 1,000 people were living in unhygienic and dangerous conditions was evacuated.
A large portion (but not all) of those that had been living at the squat were asylum seekers that had been unable to get a bed at a reception centre for asylum seekers despite them being entitled to one. When the squat was cleared, they had been promised that they would be taken to emergency accommodation.
On Wednesday around 160 of the 200 or so people at the squat were taken by bus to a hotel next to the E19 motorway at Ruisbroek in Flemish Brabant. Some were unable to get onto the two busses that had been provided and have since joined others that are sleeping outside Klein Kasteeltje.
VRT News’ Marieke Van Cauwenberghe has visited the camp. She reports that there are dozens of tents there, some of which are makeshift tents made out of plastic sheeting. Local residents have brought material to help those sleeping on the streets to a least try and keep dry and (relatively) warm. Around 200 people spent the night at the night there.
Michel Genet of the charity Dokters van de Wereld told VRT News that majority are people that previous had been staying in the Paleizenstraat. Some of them are wearing the blue bracelets that had been given to the residents of the squat and should have entitled them to a place of one of the busses to take them to emergency accommodation.
“They are from Afghanistan, Somalia and Burundi and should normally be given a place in a Fedasil (Federal Asylum Service) reception centre”, Mr Genet said.