500 illegal immigrants expelled from Brussels residences

16th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Brussels police expelled some 500 illegal immigrants early Saturday morning from two residences that they had been occupying for two days, Belgian media reported.

BRUSSELS - Brussels police expelled some 500 illegal immigrants early Saturday morning from two residences that they had been occupying for two days, Belgian media reported.

Television channel RTL reported that two Belgians were arrested during the expulsion, which lasted an hour, for encouraging the illegal immigrants to resist and a third person was arrested as a suspect in an unrelated case.

Police spokesman Christian De Coninck said that the illegal immigrants had been warned in advance that they could not stay in the buildings, which are to be renovated.

The Belga Belgian news agency reported that the two residences had been used to house homeless people and immigrants during the winter months through March and that negotiations were underway for other lodging.

After the expulsion from the buildings, several hundred immigrants demonstrated nearby.

Illegal immigrants frequently stage protests and hold hunger strikes in Brussels for legal residency permits.

Belgium's ruling five-party coalition agreed a new system in March 2008 for granting residency permits based on how involved an applicant is in local life.

However, efforts to get the system working have floundered over the criteria and politicians have not been eager to clarify them ahead of regional elections on 6 June.

AFP/ Expatica

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