meanwhile in belgium

18.Feb.03 - On Monday 17th february, 10 activists of 'Vluchtelingen Aktie Komitee (VAK)' from Ghent, Belgium, successfully delayed the expulsion of a young asylumseeker from Sierra Leone. .

On monday morning, around 6h30, a van, carrying the young man from the closed detention centre in Merksplas (near Antwerp) to the airport, was stopped by the ambush refugee activists set up. As the van drove from inside the centre towards the gates of the detention centre a whistle-signal was given and ten activists of the VAK ran towards the gate to stop the van. The gate was closed immediately by the direction of the centre, so the van couldn't leave the centre with the refugee. The activists sat down in front of the gate and formed a cluster. They prevented the direction of the closed detention centre of their goal. The direction called the police, which came after 30 minutes. Two policemen came by and decided to wait for reinforcements. Around 8 o'clock the officer came with 3 more cops. They gave the activists the order to clear the gate of the detention centre. All refugee activists refused, after which the police brutally broke up the cluster. One policeman in particular was verry violent, kicking peacefull activists, even after they were handcuffed. The same policeman used a pair of thumbcuffs, which was very painful for the activist, and useless, since there were handcuffs enough. After 10 minutes everybody was handcuffed, and the van drove out of the detention centre. .

After the activists got arrested they ware taken to the police station in Hoogstraten, 10 km away from the detention centre. Because the half of the activists refused to sign his interrogation, or even refused to say anything, all activists were put into cells. Since there were only two one-person cells in the police station, the 8 male activists, ware put in one cell !! The atmosphere among activists in the cell was good, since they managed to keep a mobile phone with them in each cell. Cheers broke out when the news came that the refugee wasn't deportated, because the van arrived too late at the airport. The activists left the cell with a big smile on the face, even the refugee himself phoned to the activists to say he has seen the action and thanked the activists for the help. .

The refugee activists will try to get the asylum case of Mahmoud Sesay into public attention to force the Belgian government to give Mr. Sesay refugee status.

no border, no nation, stop deportation !