Press review: Occupation of Brussels Airlines headquarters

Monday 13th May, around fifty activists occupied Brussels Airlines headquarters, close to Zaventem airport (Brussels International airport). The aim of this action was to call on the airline to refuse to participate in migrant deportations. The police intervened but no arrests were made.

The activists occupied the entrance of the building as well as the main hall while broadcasting a radio program about migrant expulsion. A large banner with the slogan “Brussels Airlines Stop Deportations” was hung on the façade of the building.
Other posters with the slogans “Let the deportations down”, or “Tear detention centres down” were place in front of the entrance gates, visible to all the company’s employees entering or leaving the building. With this action, the collective of activists is launching its “Brussels Airlines Stop Deportations” campaign on Monday 20th May, which will continue until the company changes its expulsion policy.

The activists point out that airlines in other countries have already decided to stop with expulsion. In June 2018, Virgin Atlantic announced that they would stop evictions on their whole airline network. Testimonies from people who have stayed in a closed centre or who have been expelled were broadcast in the radio program during the occupation, in the company’s main hall. “Deported people are regularly assaulted and physically and psychologically harassed before being deported”, says one of the activists.

The collective recalled the case of Semira Adamu, a young Nigerian woman killed 20 years ago by police officers on a Sabena (Brussels Airlines former company name). The case of Mawda, a girl shot and killed by the police in May 2018 during a chase, was also mentioned. Activists sang songs and slogans to reaffirm that they do not forget their tragic stories.


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