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Maximilian Park. Screenshot from Press TV report

Too close for comfort: Brussels officials told to avoid migrant-infested park

Employees of the Belgian government have been told to avoid a Brussels park heavily populated with migrants after a slew of robberies and attacks in recent weeks, according to local media.

Published: November 26, 2018, 11:05 am


    At least seven government officials have been ambushed since the beginning of last month, as they were passing through Maximilian Park, De Standaard reported.

    Government employees union ACOD warned members to rather take a bus or a taxi, noting that previous warnings about the increasing danger that migrants pose, had been ridiculed.

    “We were made out to be ridiculous before,” AOCD representative Jan Van Wesemael explained. “But these new incidents show that we were right and that the environment is dangerous. I hope that officials will use that shuttle bus as much as possible.”

    According to SCEPTR, civil servants were advised, “given the current social context and the dark days,” it would be “best for their safety to avoid the Maximilian Park and to focus on well-lit main roads”.

    SCEPTR journalist Tom Lallemand posted a video of the migrants living in the park on social media: “Hundreds of illegal immigrants sleep or wander around in Maximilian Park Brussels. Terrible.”

    Monique De Ceuster, 57, suffered a cracked elbow during a gang robbery. “I was on my way to the station on Tuesday evening when I was attacked from behind,” De Ceuster told De Standaard. “Three men pulled off my handbag and backpack and pushed me to the ground.”

    Hundreds of African migrants live in Maximilian Park. The majority have not applied for asylum “for fear of being deported”.

    In July, the City Council said given that a large proportion of people in Maximilian Park are not themselves seeking asylum, the pure proximity of the Asylum and Migration Office buildings can no longer justify their presence in the area.

    Last year, anti-immigration Flemish politician Theo Francken aroused indignation when he called for “cleaning up the park”. For a multitude of NGOs and volunteers, the location has also become one for protests in support of migrants.

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