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Brussels South only days after the major police operation: ‘First theft two minutes after operation ended’

Brussels South only days after the major police operation: 'First theft two minutes after operation ended'

Less than 48 hours after the major clean-up operation at Brussels South Station, the situation there already appeared to be deteriorating. At first glance, the station concourse looks cleaner, but anyone leaving the building almost immediately notices a pungent smell of urine. The first homeless people have returned and petty crime is also back.


56 arrested in police operation around Brussels South Station

Mon 28 Aug


During Saturday’s police operation, 56 people were arrested. One of them was taken to jail and 11 to a closed institution pending deportation. 41 others were released, with an order to leave the country. Three others had been detained for disturbing the public order and have also been released.

What remains after Saturday’s spectacular police operation? Rather little, it turns out. At the entrance to the Eurostar terminal, two policemen are supervising the situation; no doubt this should make people arriving or departing by train feel safer. For the rest, the large station concourse looks like it does on any other day. Perhaps it does all look a bit cleaner today.

At the exit to the tram station under the train tracks, we see a homeless person who has installed himself there. Train passengers walk past, uninterested and in a hurry. Outside, on Victor Horta Square, a ragged young man makes strange noises. He is lying on a bench in front of the station. Is he under influence of drugs or alcohol? No one looks up.

"We have seen all sorts of things here," a waitress at a restaurant on Fonsny Avenue says. She talks about the restaurant door being kicked in, about a customer on the terrace being threatened with a knife for a cigarette and about people sleeping off their intoxication among the parked cars. "We hope things will be better now, after that police action," she said.

"Ah sir, you too can see how things are here today," sighs a security guard. Saturday night and Sunday things seemed to be a bit better, but since today we see that things are once again deteriorating."

And indeed, almost everywhere on the outside facade of the station it stinks of urine. The puddles you see here and there are really not from yesterday’s rain.

The security officer believes that an operation like Saturday’s will have to be repeated a few more times. "It is like a 90-per-hour speed limit being introduced on a motorway: in the beginning most drivers are caught out, and that only decreases after they have been fined a few times."

In case you now think that Brussels South Station has become safer for train passengers, you are wrong. "Two minutes after the police operation ended, there was already a first theft."

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