In an article in Het Nieuwsblad, Francken warned of “battles on highway car parks” after 40 migrants attacked police.
The federal police had to fire a shot on Friday morning to repel an attack by some forty armed migrants. During a check on the parking lot of Groot-Bijgaarden, along the E40, they attacked the police with sticks. “We’re seeing the aggression increase,” say the police.
The parking lot of Groot-Bijgaarden, along the E40, has a bad reputation for migrants who try to crawl in trucks to get into Great Britain. In addition, violence is increasingly used against truckers. The police therefore regularly conduct checks.
That was also the case on Thursday night around 2 o’clock. “A team from the federal highway police, consisting of six agents, inspected the neighbourhood and caught five migrants who wanted to climb into trucks in the act.
“The illegals fled into the bushes and returned shortly thereafter with reinforcement. They executed an actual charge, armed with sticks and batons. Yelling and screaming, they surrounded our people who defended themselves with their truncheons. There were blows. To get the situation under control, a shot was fired in the air,” says police spokesman Peter De Waele of the federal police.
“Agents, however, are not frivolous with their weapons and only use them in very exceptional cases,” De Waele said.
Two weeks ago the federal road police on the E34 in Lille, in Kempen, also intercepted a van with thirty migrants hiding on board. They were from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. When the police opened the doors, there was uproar, and the crowd turned against the two agents. Even then, a warning shot had to be fired, confirmed De Waele.
At the highway parking lot of Rotselaar on Thursday night, a trucker was attacked by migrants. The driver reached safety by locking himself in his truck.
“Last night’s incident in Groot-Bijgaarden is more than worrying. They used to run from the police; now they are attacking,” say the police. “It is clear that those people are very frustrated when their crossing to Great Britain fails or threatens to fail, especially if they have paid large sums of money to human smugglers.”
“We must continue to carry out actions and send back illegals, if we do not, a real battle will occur at our highway car parks,” says Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken, responding to the attack.
According to Francken, these are the illegal migrants who hang around during the day in the vicinity of Brussels North. “During the day in and around the North Station/Maximilian Park, at night in a motorway around our highway car parks looking for a truck to climb into,” he says.
Flemish Minister of Mobility Ben Weyts pointed out the efforts that have already been made to secure the car parks along the E40. “In the first instance, we tackled the car parks in East and West Flanders. Some car parks are closed at night and others are secured so that truck drivers can safely stay there, including with high fencing and good facilities. Because we realize that the mounting problems are constantly moving, we have also tackled the car parks in Flemish Brabant.”