“If Brussels had wanted to hide its migrants it would not have invited the Tour”

Police have carried out a concerted operation to clear the Maximilian Park in Brussels, a haunt favoured by migrants and refugees often hoping to build a new life in the UK.  A hundred migrants were led away at the weekend.

The number of migrants staying in the park has increased since the nearby North Station was cleared.  The 100 migrants taken away were entrusted to the charge of Samusocial that offers temporary accommodation.

The Tour de France is on its way to Brussels this week and it has been suggested that because the Tour passes the park on Saturday this is why it was cleared.  This has been strenuously denied by both the Mayor of Brussels and the asylum secretary.

Mehdi Kassou of the Citizens’ Platform that takes up the plight of migrants in the park told reporters police had told him the Tour de France was the reason for the operation.

Mayor Close of Brussels was challenged during Monday’s council meeting: “It’s erroneous information.  The Tour happens during the day and not the night” he said.  “If Brussels had wanted to hide its migrants it would not have invited the Tour” alderman Hellings added.

Migration Secretary Maggie De Block noted: “We’ve been working on the Maximilian Park and the challenge posed by migrants for months together with other authorities. Brussels is our capital and it should be nice and neat all year round.  People who head for the North Station should be able to count on safe and reassuring surroundings whether they are off to work or the Tour de France.”