Brussels: citizens shield refugees from police

Roughly 2,500 people formed a human chain to prevent the police from entering an illegal refugee camp in Brussels on Sunday. The action was an expression of popular anger at the government's migration policy. Many newspapers show understanding for the protest.

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De Morgen (BE) /

Europe's policies have failed

Journalist Johan Depoortere is part of the civil platform that organised the protest. In De Morgen he explains why the activists are so angry:

“Belgian and European migration policy is all wrong, with its scandalous deal with Turkey, its concentration camps in Greece and the many victims at sea. Should the borders be opened? No, on the contrary, no country can allow an uncontrolled influx of migrants. ... But if you make legal, controlled immigration under safe conditions impossible, you get what we are seeing today: thousands of people dying in the Mediterranean and thousands of youths wandering Europe's streets in the delusional hope of finding a better life here.”

De Standaard (BE) /

The dilemma of helping refugees

De Standaard warns the state against cracking down too hard:

“The transit migrants have survived the desert and the sea, the hell of Libya and the snake pit of the smugglers in Europe. Nothing can stop them. ... They demand free access to illegality in Britain. ... But this creates a conflict of conscience. Those who provide humanitarian aid relieve their suffering, but they also help to keep the routes open. Those who don't help them in their plight leave these people in dreadful circumstances. In certain cases the humanitarian approach is the right one. But as a principle this commitment clashes with the system of the rule of law. ... [The state should] respect freedoms, preserve its humaneness and be sparing with repression. Recognising this conflict of conscience will help in the search for a solution that enjoys broad support.”