Television Crew Attacked While Filming Report on Emerging Migrant No-Go Zone

Police and army personnel stand guard during a bomb alert outside the Brussels-North (Gare du Nord - Noordstation) train station in Brussels, on October 5, 2016. A bomb alarm was issued for the station and the Portalis building of the Federal Prosecutor. / AFP / BELGA / THIERRY ROGE / …

A television crew working for Belgian broadcaster RTL was attacked by migrants at the Gare du Nord station in Brussels while they were filming an investigation on the refusal of bus drivers in the city to stop at the ‘rapidly deteriorating’ location.

The television crew were attacked on Sunday morning while the crew were trying to interview a bus driver and filming a bus belonging to the De Lijn company following a refusal of drivers to serve the major capital-city transport interchange with their vehicles.

According to the journalist, “The individual got out of the station and shot toward our reporters. He then quickly approached and violently shoved our reporters. ‘We are not animals,’ he said while attacking our colleagues,” RTL reports.

Drivers of De Lijn have complained that the state of the station has rapidly deteriorated both in terms of physical safety and in terms of health, claiming previously that they fear migrants may be spreading diseases such as tuberculosis, scabies and malaria following a report by another Belgian media outlet that traces of the diseases had been found among the migrants living at the station.

City transport company STIB announced this week it would be suspending services to the station, re-routing buses to nearby stops, because of health concerns. The suspension took effect Tuesday morning.

The ACV, ACOD and ACLVB unions have all expressed support for the drivers who have been complaining about the dangerous environment surrounding the area for the past several months and said that until the conditions are improved they would support the drivers not stopping at the station.

The spreading of diseases among migrants living on the streets, particularly the scabies parasite, has become a major problem in Paris as well with NGOs who worked with migrants in 2017 complaining that cases had seen a substantial rise. The prevalence of scabies even forced a group of migrants to vacate a squat within a Paris university after members of the university staff started to become infected as well.

Paris has also seen public transport workers refuse to stop at certain stations due to drug use and violence in areas where homeless migrants often congregate.

Drivers working for the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP), listed several stations last year, including Porte de La Chapelle, well-known for being a hub of homeless migrants, as stations they would not stop at due to the danger both to them and to their passengers.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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