Migrants who attempt to stow away in trucks so they can get to Britain have become more than just a nuisance in Flanders. Lately they have become bold enough to attack the Flemish highway police en masse.
Francken warns of “battle on highway car parks” after 40 migrants attack police
January 19, 2018
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. State Secretary Theo Francken (N-VA) even warns of a “battle for highway car parks.”
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, watched the neighborhood and caught in the act five traveling migrants who wanted to climb into trucks. The aliens fled into the bushes and returned shortly thereafter with reinforcement. They executed an actual charge, armed with sticks and rods. Yelling and ranting, 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,” stresses De Waele.
Two weeks ago the federal road police on the E34 in Lille, in the Kempen, also intercepted a van with thirty migrants on board. In that case 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 — a shot in the air — had to be fired, confirms De Waele.
And also at the highway parking lot of Rotselaar on Thursday night a trucker was attacked by traveling 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.”
Of the sixteen people who were arrested after the attack on the agents, no one was made available to the public prosecutor. “The sixteen detainees have all been transferred to the Immigration Office,” reports the prosecution office of Halle-Vilvoorde. “The people who had fled were not among those who were arrested,” says the prosecution spokeswoman Carol Vercarre.
“Battle at highway car parks”
“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 (N-VA), reacting 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.
The State Secretary emphasized that truck drivers should also be considered. “These are often ‘migrants’, but also hard-working, legal labor migrants. I never hear about the leftist opposition and trade unions. But argue for my dismissal; they can be the best,” he snorts.
The Francken solution? “Continue to carry out actions and send back illegal residents. Otherwise, a real battle will occur in our highway car parks.”
Minister of the Interior Jan Jambon (N-VA) also reacts strongly to the events. He posted on social network site Twitter that the security services will continue to strictly enforce illegal migration and smuggling.
Flemish Minister of Mobility Ben Weyts (N-VA) has instructed the concessionaire of the motorway parking lot in Groot-Bijgaarden to secure the parking more tightly. That a local resident opposes the security plans with legal proceedings, the N-VA minister disregards. “We have to make such choices once more and push them more decisively when the safety of people is at stake. We must not let ourselves be held hostage,” says Weyts to Belga.
Flemish minister Weyts points 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 high fencing and good facilities. Because we realize that the mounting problems are constantly moving, we also tackle the car parks in Flemish Brabant.”