Asylum seekers stage sit-in after being turned away

Male asylum seekers staged a sit-in in the queue outside the offices of the immigration department at Klein Kasteeltje (Petit Chateau) in Brussels this morning.  This is where asylum seekers have to come first to register.

The male asylum seekers are unhappy that for days now they have been turned away.  Women and children and people with mental or physical health issues are given priority, but in recent weeks only 50 asylum seekers have been registered a day.  The rest was turned away and told to return later.

Today a hundred women and children were admitted.  150 men were turned away. When they got the news they spontaneously held a sit-in shouting "Open the Door" and "No Mercy!”. Some asylum seekers have been sleeping outside the centre for days now. 

Maggie De Block has now replaced the Flemish nationalist Theo Francken at asylum and migration in the Belgian government.  She has announced her desire to pursue more humane asylum policies and the lifting of the daily limit of fifty registrations. Activists say that if 130 asylum seekers can be registered per day the situation will ease. 

Later in the day under the leadership of a new minister the immigration department scrapped the 50 application a day quota.  Up to 150 registrations will be carried out starting Tuesday.