Ostend beach sees 18 coffins along the shoreline

Ostend beach had 18 wooden coffins on display on Sunday morning. The coffins were placed close to the actual shoreline. They were part of a symbolic action staged by campaigners to highlight the problem of refugees drowning in the Mediterranean Sea. "There is no place like home. Nobody leaves his country for no reason."

The action comes just one day after the Italian authorities put a stop to their "Mare Nostrum" scheme to help African refugees that are in trouble in the Mediterranean Sea. Aid workers helped out an estimated 150,000 refugees over the past year as part of that programme.

The Italian government decided it was too costly and opted for a kind of "Mare Nostrum light version", which will cost Italian tax payers less in times of austerity measures. The efforts will be reduced by 50 percent, experts estimate.  Italy will now rely on the new programme that was worked out by the European Union, but the protesters argue that this will not do.

Annelies D'Hulster of Pozzallo Pirates that staged the action rejects criticism that people are fleeing to Europe just for financial reasons: "There is no place like home. They don't want to leave their home country. Nobody leaves his country just like that, and not for just for a few pounds more. That is never the reason."