Brussels: new occupation of empty building

As of Friday, January 15, 6,936 square meters formerly used by Opel – located at 552 chaussée de Gand in Molenbeek – are occupied to rehouse some of the 200 people about to be evicted from their homes in Jette. The opening of this new squat in Molenbeek follows the opening of the Hospitalière, a former clinic in Saint-Gilles that has become home to 80 people since December 18. This action announces the launch of a campaign of “solidarity occupations”.

As collectives and associations of people with and without papers, actors of the right to housing, inhabitants of Brussels, we are organizing ourselves once again with our means to enforce the right to housing and to demand the regularization of undocumented migrants.

We will continue to open and occupy empty buildings as long as the public authorities do not provide sufficient structural responses to the social and health crisis. By launching this campaign, we affirm that we are determined to organize ourselves in the face of the absurdity of thousands of empty buildings while hundreds of people sleep outside in our city. The opening of about ten squats has made it possible to house several hundred people during the spring 2020 confinement. Today, we want to make this solidarity and self-organized response visible, while refuting the idea that this is a structural and sufficient solution. It is up to the public authorities to make it a priority.

We demand an end to the criminalization of occupations and squatting, an end to evictions and, above all, the means to ensure dignified housing for all. This must notably be translated into an acceleration of the production of social housing and a control of rents on the private market, because rents have become unaffordable for the inhabitants of Brussels. The right to dignity must come first, housing is a fundamental need”.

We also denounce the current migration policy, which is also responsible for the precariousness of many people, both undocumented and in transit. In addition to the Covid crisis, these people have to endure waiting periods of several years due to the processing of files, the Dublin regulation which deports people from their host country overnight, the obstruction of access to medical care: these are some of the catastrophic consequences of an inhumane migration policy which affects the lives of more than 2 million people in Europe. The respect of their fundamental rights requires a change of policy, through the regularization of undocumented migrants, the opening of borders, free movement, the closure of closed centers and the creation of safe and legal migration routes.

The campaign of “solidarity occupations” calls for awareness and mobilization of all, solidarity is indispensable, today more than ever. In 2021, let’s take matters into our own hands!

Some squats in Brussels
Some squats in Belgium
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in Belgium
Events in Belgium

source: Indymedia Brussels