On 20 June, a peaceful protest was organized by the activist group #NotInMyName in front of the closed center 127bis, in the city of in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium.
More than 100 people blocked access to the facility, which will soon become a detention center for families, including children.
The protesters sent a clear message: nothing can ever justify the detention of families in such a closed center, and nothing can ever justify detaining children.
Journalists from the Belgian TV station RTBF covered the protest. Although it was carried out in a peaceful manner, two journalist and three technicians were arbitrarily arrested by the police, who also seized their recording equipment.
The TV crew was later released in the early afternoon of 20 June.
A two-fold takeaway
The first conclusion to be drawn from the event is that we cannot tolerate the fact that journalists are prevented from doing their job, as press freedom is a fundamental principle of democracy.
Such a hindrance to the freedom of information in Belgium is particularly worrying and contributes to the weakening of values that are fundamental in a state governed by the rule of law.
The second observation is that, in the face of such an inhuman and radical policy from the Belgian government, which includes the detention of children and clearly violates basic human rights, the radical response of citizens, who chose to undertake an action of civil disobedience, is legitimate and uplifting.
We will never tolerate this
Liberties member the League of Human Rights (LDH) wishes to express its support to those who denounce the detention of children in closed centers as completely unacceptable.
LDH reaffirms its opposition to the opening of such closed centers, and by extension to the detention of children in these centers.
We will never tolerate the detention of children.
We will never tolerate journalists being prevented from doing their job.