Belgium: Second wave of raids for the “Operation Ashes”

Saturday, September 28, 2013

As a reminder, on May 22, 2013, in the morning, the antiterrorist section of the Belgian federal police conducted a first wave of raids on houses where anarchists and anti-authoritarian comrades live among other people; the anarchist library Acrata was searched as well. The eleven persons present were arrested and led to the offices of the federal police. They were released without having to appear in front of a judge.

As part of this investigation, conducted by the judge Isabelle Panou and called “Opération Cendres” (Operation Ashes), the charges are: membership of a terrorist organization, conspiracy and volunteer arson(s).

During the hearings, it appeared that the investigation focuses on struggles, revolts and activities from 2008 to present days, concerning prisons, the construction of the new detention center for migrants in Steenokkerzeel, public transports (STIB/MIVB), the European institutions and the eurocrats, the development of a regional train network, the NATO, the deportation machine, the bailiffs, and finally the construction of a new maxi-prison in Brussels. Publications such as Hors-Service (“Out-of-Service”) are also targeted, and more generally writings, posters and so on, distributed by anarchists and anti-authoritarians.

This Wednesday, September 25, 2013 the judge strikes back by ordering new searches in 5 houses in Brussels, Leuven and Ghent. At around 6am, the anti-terrorist branch of the federal police seized computers, hard drives, USB sticks, notebooks, leaflets, posters and personal documents. In three out of five places, the persons concerned by the search warrant were absent, and three other persons were arrested for questioning. They were released a few hours later after they refused to cooperate in the hearings.