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Last 'sans-papiers' move out of former KBC Bank building in Brussels

The KBC building on Avenue du Port in Brussels (BELGA PHOTO BART DEWAELE)
06:55 19/04/2022

The last remaining undocumented people who were inhabiting the old KBC Bank building on Avenue du Port in Brussels moved to another building in Rue du Rempart des Moines on Sunday, Bruzz reports.

Around 70 men and women were still living in the KBC building after others left last week following the order to leave by the City of Brussels administration, which intends to renovate the site. Since Sunday, all 70 of them are now inhabiting an empty social housing block in Rue du Rempart des Moines after what they claim was a “forced removal” by the authorities.

Now the office of Brussels mayor Philippe Close has said that they cannot stay at the new location due to safety concerns. "The building has to be demolished and was emptied because it was no longer habitable," said a member of the mayor’s cabinet. “They cannot stay there for safety reasons."

The police have already visited but there are no plans to stage an eviction yet. The group also includes five children.

A group representing the undocumented people has called on the authorities to allow the occupation as a temporary measure until approved housing can be found for them. They are also calling for the undocumented people to be regularised, which would allow them to work “and lead a dignified life” in Belgium.

About 250 undocumented people had been living in the old KBC building since August last year. Around 110 of them left for a building on Rue Volta in Ixelles last week.

Written by Nick Amies