Tag Archives: against the maxi-prison in Haren

Marseille, France: Incendiary attack against luxury cars

In the morning of Friday 26th February at around 3:30am, we gained access to a ‘secure’ private parking serving a yuppie block in the 7th district, Marseille, and set fire to two luxury vehicles. A box of firelighters were placed under a front tire of each vehicle, which quickly ignited before bursting into flames as we departed, thereby bringing a brief “state of emergency” to the doorsteps of a bourgie few.

We dedicate this attack to the four combatants imprisoned by the Belgian state in the “maxi-prison trial” of the 19th February, and to others accused in the same case.

Fire to the prisons and the world that protects them!

With kisses,
Persons unknown
_

Note from Contra Info: In fact, four individuals were each given a 10 month suspended prison sentence for a conditional period of 3 years in the trial of the maxi-prison model destruction. Furthermore, the six charged each received €600 fines, making a total of €3,600. The prosecutor’s most relevant piece of incriminating evidence to convict them as a group is the fact that they refused to apologise on the subject.

Portuguese | Italian, Spanish via Attaque

Brussels: Call-out for solidarity with four people charged over the destruction of the maxi-prison model

In its mad race for profits, capitalism throws more and more people into precariousness and makes our environment increasingly unliveable. Faced with scolding anger and misery sown into anything that goes, the state invests in maintaining order and builds new prisons.

At a time when the people are constrained to tighten their belts, the government finds billions to strain us even more by building high-tech prisons, where it experiments with new forms of torture (sensory and human contact deprivation)

For the ruling class, the advantage is twofold: the construction contracts provides its juicy profits and security apparatus, thereby ultra-developed, allows it to maintain its privileges and to perpetuate this oppressive and destructive system.

The federal government’s Masterplan foresees the construction of seven new prisons in Belgium. One of them, the maxi-prison, crystallizes opposition in recent years. The government plans to build this mammoth prison on the Keelbeek site, in Haren, located on the northern outskirts of Brussels.

A few statistics of the maxi-prison project:
# A capacity for 1200 detainees (men, women, minors and psychiatrised people)
# 19 hectares of nature and farmland concreted
# A 25 year private-public partnership which will cost the state more than €3 billion. That’s a minimum daily cost of €275 per detainee. More than €275 a day devoted to breaking a human being!
# A location far from the heart of Brussels, difficulty accessible for the detainees’ families

Since the announcement of the maxi-prison construction, the reactions are numerous. In Haren, the neighbourhood committee informs inhabitants and mobilises itself against the project. On the streets of Brussels, the maxi-prison revives anti-prison rage and well inspired groups strive to end the project through a series of direct actions. In Anderlecht, [Le Passage], a local space of struggle against the maxi-prison is open to inform, discuss and organise itself.

During the summer of 2014, the Keelbeek site was occupied to prevent the project’s progress. The Haren ZAD (Zone to Defend) was born. Among the tree houses and vegetable garden, the opponents experimented with another lifestyle, self-managed and solidarity based. The site occupation ended in September 2015, following the forceful eviction of occupants, conducted by Brussels police. But even today, a rebellious handful occupy a site adjacent to Keelbeek and several of Haren’s abandoned houses.

This growing popular unrest upset the government’s plans who let its pack of guard dogs loose in an attempt to stifle dissent. Numbers of struggling comrades experienced raids, tailing, wiretapping, intimidation and infiltration attempts. But faced with the determination and solidarity, the repression proves to be powerless.

On May 20th 2015, the consultation committee’s public hearing was held regarding the maxi-prison project in Haren. The committee’s opinion wasn’t even binding, the referendum farce didn’t deceive many people. The same day, around a dozen people therefore decided to express their opposition to the project, outside of Power’s marked paths, and manifest within the Building Agency. The maxi-prison model, exhibited in the entrance hall, is destroyed during the action.

This institution, the Buildings Agency, corrupted up to its neck, is responsible for managing the Belgian State’s property assets and coordinating the construction of new prisons. Without waiting for permits, the Buildings Authority tried to repeatedly start work on the Keelbeek site. But each time, construction machinery was fended off by opponents.

While its project is threatened from all sides, Power seizes this opportunity, in an attempt to weaken the resistance, and now four of us find ourselves on the judicial bench for “organised destruction of personal property”. This is the first trial of an action against the maxi-prison. Following a postponement, the first hearing is set for January 22nd 2016 in the Brussles Law Courts. For this type of act, the anticipated penalties range from 1 to 5 years imprisonment, while the Buildings Agency are claiming €40,000 in damages and interests.

Far from paralysing us, this trial is an opportunity to reaffirm our anti-authoritarian stance against all forms of power, whether political, media or judicial. They’re part of the problem, not the solution. And with your complicity, this trial will be another opportunity to throw some paving stones on the prison morass and to make slip a few cogs in the machine.

Let’s continue the struggle against prisons and the world they protect!

And to manage the legal costs, we also call for your financial solidarity.

If you collect a few coins by scraping the bottom of your pockets, or passing a collection pot at your activist meet ups, then thanks for bunging them this way: BE66 5230 4745 8943 (bank account number in the name of “soutien procès maquette” [model trial support])

Brick by brick
Wall by wall
Let’s destroy all prisons!

The four charged individuals

January 18th 2016

Italian | German

Brussels: Attacks against prison and the world it protects – for a Black December

Originally published December 26th:

Responding to calls for a Black December through acts. Responding to our desires for freedom. Responding by attack against that which allows this oppressive and destructive system to continue.

During these last two weeks that have passed, at least 5 Eiffage construction company vans felt their tires emptied of the air that fills them. The act is simple, fast and efficient. A small knife concealed in the sleeve, a big whack on the side of the tyre and it delivers a vehicle that won’t go to work on time. Within 30 seconds in this manner, several vehicles can be immobilised. We know that one of these five vans got wing mirrors broken and its bodywork tagged.

If you don’t understand the choice of this target, find out more about Eiffage to understand the role this company holds in building prisons and infrastructure that allows capitalism to continue.

Another act painted a big smile on our faces.

Here are the facts; taking advantage of the night-time complicity of darkness and enjoying the absence of security on the terrain dedicated to the maxi-prison, absence probably due to the Christmas “Holidays”, some people chose to attack the fences that mark out the area of ​​the maxi-prison (which will not happen). With blows from pliers about a hundred fences have been cut and twisted, opening access to the already imprisoned ground. Most fences are held in place by stakes fixed with concrete into the ground (by forcefully shaking these stakes you can make the concrete give way and pop out the stem from the ground).

But a whole section of the fences are only fixed together with small rectangular clips, that you often see to hold fences in place. All these ones have fallen, and can fall indefinitely. If they become secured into the ground, they can be cut.

We will not allow this system to continue. We will attack wherever the opportunity arises. For self-management of our lives. To try and save what could still be. For freedom.

We express our support to those who struggle on the ZAD in Haren and to those who struggle outside the zone. Our support also goes to those attacked by the justice of the powerful. All our support to those locked up in prisons as on the outside. To our accomplices, we embrace you strongly.

Greek | Spanish | Italian | Portuguese | German via Linksunten

Belgium: Demolish Forest Prison today! Sabotage the construction of the maxi-prison of tomorrow

The walls of the Prison of Forest resonates loudly…

When we hear the echoes that pierce through the walls of the Forest prison, when we have suffered it’s confinement in putrid cells, when we visit someone close completely ruined by their detention, there is only one possible sane reaction: the scream of rage.

The years pass and the suicides and deaths in this Brussels jail link together, the scandals that occasionally erupt disappear as quickly as they appeared and detention conditions only get worse. The years pass and every day this prison remains standing, we somehow all become accomplices to these atrocities by the state inflicted against detainees, in the name of the Law and Order. Of course, we don’t forget there are those who bear more responsibility: politicians, prison officers, execution guards, doctors who cover up abjections with their silence, companies that make money from this prison. But the shadow of Forest weighs on us all. It exists also because we continue to accept it’s suffering.

You see, the line between inside and outside is not as transparent as you might believe. When by our silence or by our resignation we endorse the existence of a place so abject as the Forest prison, next to our homes, the walls transpire to be not thick enough to rid ourselves of all responsibility. Prison is an issue that concerns us all, whether we like it or not.

So it’s clear. What we talk about here is not to depress us, or even to “feel sorry” over the fate of detainees. It is a scream of rage, because it alone could be able to stop what’s happening behind the barbed wire of the Forest prison. It alone could take the burden and return some air into these infected cells. It alone could liberate us, we who are outside – or rather still outside, because unlike bosses, the banker and the rich; the rebel, the excluded, the exploited, is likely to meet prison along their way – but one who feels the shadow of Forest.

So the scream of rage. We emphasise some rage, not a call for help. What sense would it have to address the politicians or administrators of this world to ask them something? What good would it do, to still speak to their officials, whom for years have actively endorsed the atrocious situation at the Prison of Forest? Rage is not trying to convince the higher-ups, it seeks to finish, immediately and by itself, a situation that is unbearable. Everything else, even the charitable initiatives with the best of intentions, contributes only to continue the situation.

And it goes even further. Today, the State shamefully asserts its atrocious conditions at the Forest Prison to promote it’s plan to build a maxi-prison in Brussels. By playing on the disgust that we feel faced with how it subjects detainees, it wants to make us swallow an even greater imprisonment project. More humane, it says. To deal with overcrowding, it says. To finally close the Forest Prison, it says. In the meanwhile, until the maxi-prison is built, that is to say for at least some years to come still, the situation at Forest will remain as it is today. How can you believe that these people who for years have been able to use Forest prison to break thousands of people and condone the atrocities inflicted against detainees, won’t do exactly the same once their new prison sees the light of day?

To rid ourselves of the last illusions over the State’s humanity, we have to understand why the Prison of Forest is what it is today. It is neither an accident, nor the result of a tragic course or an unfortunate abnormality. It’s a choice. A choice by the State to inject docility into the neighbourhoods of Brussels with the disposal of such an instrument. To terrorise those who are bound to break the law… Make no mistake, a new prison would have exactly the same remit. If the State today can take less “atrocious” forms (while considering that locking someone up is in itself already torture), tomorrow, to better fulfil its function of punishment and terror, it again hosts teams of tabasser guards, cells for three or four, destruction of the detainee by illness and the lack of hygiene… the Forest Phantom haunts any prison, whether new or old.

The scream of rage is also therefore a scream loaded with the future. To not accept it today, is to prepare to not accept it tomorrow. That is why we must close Forest now. We have to close it. To demolish it so that it can’t be rebuilt. By the force of our rejection and violence of our revolt. The ruined.

Unhealthy, unlivable, the Prison of Forest must become unmanageable. Inmates can get started with revolts and rebellions, but also with sabotage. Forest Prison is so dilapidated that water pipelines sabotaged and broken electrical circuits could make it uncontrollable (which automatically would implicate its closure, like at Verviers prison almost four years ago). On flooding and flooding, encouraging those close to us on the inside to accelerate the closure of Forest by sabotage; let’s be at their side for them to feel our complicity and solidarity.

On the outside as well, we can place our grain of sand to fuck up the vicious circle. Policymakers, collaborating institutions, the companies that profit; the collaborators of this repressive work aren’t protected by walls or barbed wire. They are often found at the corner of our street. When we give them back the daily possible amount, their daily amount of endorsing and sowing the terror that reigns in the Prison of Forest… When it kicks off with riots in Forest prison, reconnecting with a not so distant past, when we took to the streets, stones and molotovs in our hands; we also riot in the streets of this necropolis.

If by ourselves we are to immediately demolish Forest prison, this certainly isn’t to accept a new maxi-prison tomorrow. These two battles, against these two prisons, go hand in hand. In their hearts, they are freedom and solidarity. That’s what makes them extremely explosive.

Brussels: Down with the maxi-prison – gathering without borders from september 29th to october 3rd

Five days of gatherings and debates
September 29th – October 3rd 2015 in Brussels
The program of events can be found here.

If the state counted on silently building in Brussels the largest prison complex in Belgian history, it was mistaken. Against this maxi-prison project, a struggle was born and has intensified. An uncompromising struggle that has taken the initiative, which creates paths without political parties or formal organisations, that embodies itself in self-organisation and direct action against what makes the maxi-prison possible.

The project to build a maxi-prison is inscribed into a wider economic and political context. In this time of new economic and political instability, the Belgian State, like other States, level up with strengthening the repression. Whether this translates into tougher laws, more control at all levels, cameras everywhere, militarisation of borders, soldiers in the street, urban regeneration to “restore order”, there are also all types of extensive prison building programs. Because prison will always be one of the threats used to try to make us fall into rank as well as a powerful state tool to keep in order its world divided into rich and poor, powerful and excluded, oppressors and oppressed.

If ideas and actions have to join hands, if thought and experience can sharpen the fight we lead, if the construction of the maxi-prison is not just a question of four walls, but perhaps above all a social issue that affects the whole of this society, these five days of gatherings around the struggle against the maxi-prison could be a valuable opportunity.

At these meetings, comrades from different corners of the world will chat about their experiences of struggle, bringing along their reflections around insurrectionary struggle and explore ways to deepen the fight against the maxi-prison, but not solely.

Tuesday 29th September, 7:30pm
Le Passage – Rue Rossini 11, Anderlecht
The hour of the revolt (comrade from London)

Wednesday 30th September, 3pm
Lion D’or – Avenue Jamar 5, Anderlecht
The struggle against the maxi-prison

Wednesday 30th September, 7:30pm
Pianofabriek – Rue du Fort 35, Saint-Giles
The struggle against the new Type C prisons in Greece

Thursday 1st October, 7:30pm
Acrata – Rue de la Grande Ile 32, Brussels
Towards the insurrection (comrade from Italy)

Friday 2nd Octoer, 5pm
Acrata – Rue de la Grande Ile 32, Brussels
Undermine the prisons of the democracy in Chile

Friday 2nd Octoer, 7:30pm
Le Passage – Rue Rossini 11, Anderlecht
Rebellion in Spanish prisons (comrade from Spain)

Saturday 3rd October, 2pm
L’eau Chaude – Rue des Renards 25, Marolles
Feedback and perspectives of struggle

in French, Italian | Program of events in French and Dutch (pdf)
Further reading: “The struggle against the maxi-prison” (pdf)

[Zine] The struggle against the maxi-prison in Brussels – A chronology of attack & antagonism

Click here for low-res version or here for high-res and imposed versions.

The Belgian State has been announcing it for some time: building 13 new modern and efficient prisons.

As part of this new master-plan the State wants to build a maxi-prison in Haren, northern Brussels. It is intended as the largest prison in the country, a genuine prison town that would include five different prisons on the same terrain. It would then lock up at least 1,200 men, women and children.

With the fight against the construction of this monstrosity raging on, this 48-page publication features analysis and a chronology of attack from the past two and a half years of struggle against this project.

Contents

– No new prisons, no maxi-prison in Brussels!
– The struggle against building a maxi-prison and the offensive of power
– No maxi-prison, not here, nor anywhere!
– Let’s rebel against the construction of a maxi-prison
– On your marks, get set, go!
– To the undesirables
– Break the ranks
– For the insurrection
– Sabotage
– To the uncontrollables
– Chronology of attack & antagonism

For antagonistic struggle,
Person(s) Unknown Publications

Brussels: Solidarity gathering with the struggle against the maxi-prison

Solidarity gathering with the struggle against the maxi-prison and all those who fight against power
Sunday 14th June at 1pm – Clemenceau Metro, Anderlecht

Sabotage against the maxi-prison, its contractors and defenders!

The best defence is attack!

Share our revolts and desires of freedom!

Call-out in French, Greek and summary in German.
More info: “anti-terrorist” raids in Brussels
.

Brussels: “Anti-terrorist” raids of comrades’ homes and Le Passage

This Wednesday June 10th 2015, just before 6am, different anti-terrorism teams raided four comrades’ houses as well as Le Passage, the local space of struggle against the maxi-prison. These raids were conducted as part of an operation named “Cavale” [On the run].

Six comrades were shipped off to the federal police offices, then released around 1pm after being interviewed… Hearings during which no one had anything to say.

Beyond computer equipment and phones, the cops’ attention was specially focused on everything propaganda wise (magazines, newspapers, posters…), combed through and often taken.

For what we know at the moment, these arrests follow an investigation opened in 2013 for “incitement to commit terrorist acts” and “participation in a terrorist organisation”. This investigation is being led by the investigating judge De Coster.

The regular opening of Le Passage will be ensured on Wednesday from 5pm, and an info point is planned for 7pm.

Always struggling against prison and the world that goes with it.

La Lime – solidarity fund to saw through the bars of repression
lalime[at]riseup.net

 German | Greek | Spanish

International Poster: Break the ranks

Download the poster here in PDF (A2 format)

Everyone should fall in line. That’s what they want, from our first to our last breath. We should be in line for the classrooms, for the checkouts of the supermarket, for work; we should queue up on the roads, in front of the counters of bureaucracy, at the polling stations… until the end of the line, in rows of tombstones. An entire existence that drags on like this – our muscles only contract to kneel down, our hearts only beat for goods – in the safety of a prison.

The cities are looking more and more like prisons, with every corner planned to be better surveilled, controlled, patrolled. The inhabitants are like prisoners escorted by capitalist exploitation and handcuffed by social obligations, always under the artificial eyes of security cameras. Everyone directed towards craving the consumption of feelings, carefully calculated, delivered by omnipresent screens.

This prison-society promises well-being, but delivers mostly massacres, as it is demonstrated by the drowned dreams of those who have tried to cross its moat and the bombarded bodies of those who rise up at its gates. Those who take the freedom to not beg but would rather trace their own paths, will be confronted by an army of politicians, judges, police and journalists.

While in Brussels a new maxi-prison is being built, in Athens a special regime is being imposed on combative prisoners; while in Paris they are laying the first brick of the new Justice Palace, in Zürich and Munich other monstrous Police and Justice Centres are being planned; while powers are making agreements beyond national borders on how to carry out counter-insurgency strategies, research laboratories and surveillance industries are set up to produce social peace. And everywhere, from Spain to Greece to Italy, repression hits anyone who is tainted by the most intolerable crime: ending with obedience and inciting others to do so as well.

However, these huge projects of repression are not only met with applauses, silences or complaints. Sometimes they crash against a hostility that is resolute and daring. It is the case, for example, of the biggest Belgian prison to date, currently under construction. A project whose path has already been studded by direct actions against those who collaborate, both public institutions and private enterprises. From paint to stones, from hammers to flames, from destruction to sabotage, it’s a constellation of attacks that completely breaks away from the penal code, political strategy or complacency with the State. If the defenders of this order want to smother this struggle, it’s because a breath of freedom can become contagious. Everywhere.

The human being was not born to fall in line, to keep his head low, to wait for a permission to live. But by raising our heads, arming our hands and challenging power – that’s where life begins: by the destruction of all ranks.

Poster also available in Italian, French, Greek and German
from Break the ranks.

Brussels: Struggle against the maxi-prison in Haren – On your marks, get set, go!

Extract from Ricochets n° 4, March 2015, the newsletter against the maxi-prison and the world that goes with it. This is the third in a series of translations by the openly conspiratorial Person(s) Unknown Publications, this time featuring a list of international targets (see notes below):

On your marks

At the end of February 2015, the state hired a company to install fences around the terrain of the future site of the maxi-prison in Haren, north Brussels. Workers with an excavator, accompanied by some police, then began to fence off the area so they could “be ready to work away from curious prying eyes.” [1] Another company started demolition work of a former industrial site that is also located on the land of the future construction site.

These are undeniable signs that the project of the maxi-prison is progressing and that the state wants to step up a gear to erect the largest jail in Belgium. And it’s hard to not understand their message when they get started… installing fences to protect themselves and placing surveillance cameras in the village of Haren. The construction of this prison will inevitably bring the militarisation of the area.

Get set

If the Cafasso consortium (which includes the companies Denys, VK Engineering, Buro II & Archi+I…) [2] will have to wait until June for the last necessary permits, while waiting, the state prepares us with a few bad-tasting jokes. Also in March, there will be a “public inquiry” where citizens are asked to give their opinion on the project (who can still believe these kind of things?). In any case, it will then be especially easier to intimidate them to “shut their mouths” and to portray the radical opponents as “extremists” and “terrorists”… The state prepares and wants to be ready to impose by any means necessary their project.

And us, are we ready? Has each and every one of us, those who are fighting against this maxi-prison and the world that it produces, reflected on what will be done to defeat this plan? The possibilities are numerous: actions against constructors to attacks against those responsible, blockages of the daily routine to wild demonstrations, etc.

Go!

It seems likely that the start of construction will not be far away. Will they start before summer? It’s very possible. [3] It’s now and at every moment that we must harass them and put a spoke in the wheel. But when work begins, rather than be discouraged, intimidated and declared defeated, it will be an opportunity to take new steps in this dance that is the fight against this horror.

When the builders and machines arrive on the ground in Haren, let’s propagate chaos in the streets of Brussels, in the neighbourhoods where we live and struggle. To mark this move, and give them a glimpse of what will follow – what we hope and are working on – throughout the construction of this horror. By lighting the fires of revolt in the neighbourhoods, we undermine the pillars on which any plan of the State ultimately rests upon: resignation and passivity of the oppressed. And it’s from there that the assault to destroy this maxi-prison goes away.

PS: Companies that have started to prepare the ground in Haren to build the maxi-prison are: Van Kempen (demolition work, Antwerp), APB (asbestos removal, Brabant) and Verbruggen Groep Mol (fences, Antwerp).. Without all these collaborators, the maxi-prison could never be built. A word to the wise…

Translation notes from Person(s) unknown (additional info from De l’air! and independently researched):

[1] In the last week of February, a group of people brought down nearly half of the 400 Heras fences surrounding the site of the future maxi-prison

[2] The prison contract is a private-public partnership between the federal government and the Cafasso consortium, that will build and manage the infrastructure of the prison and then lease it to the state. The Cafasso consortium is; Denys, FFC Construccion, Buro II & ARCHI+I (Belgium/France), EGM Architectes (Netherlands), AAFM Facility Management (Belgium/Netherlands), M.O.O.CON Advisers (Austria/Germany), G. Derveaux Ingénieurs, Typsa (International), Marcq & Roba, Vialia Sociedad Gestora de Concesiones de Infraestructuras (Madrid), Macquarie Capital Group (International), VK Engineering, Dr. Andrea Seelich (Vienna), and the Building Agency of the Belgian federal state. Targets are located in Belgium unless referenced otherwise. Other companies involved in building new prisons in Belgium: Eiffage, BAM, Cordeel, Interbuild, Willemen, BNP Paribas, KBC Banque, GDF Suez, Sodexo, Cegelec, ABN Amro, Socotec and Eurest.

[3] The building work is intended for 2015, with the completion date set for 2017.

Belgium: News in brief against the maxi-prison in Haren and anti-prison struggle elsewhere

Bomb threat against the three buildings of the European Parliament in Brussels that were evacuated due to a suspicious vehicle, February 2nd 2015.

This text was originally published in French by Contra Info, March 2015. The following news round-up is the second in a series of translations by Person(s) Unknown Publications, as part of a new brochure in the making on the struggle against the maxi-prison in Haren, Brussels:

January-February 2015

Descent of cops to “the Passage” – On the 14th January at 7:30pm, a pack of cops were stationed in Anderlecht (Brussels) in front of the Passage, local to the struggle against the maxi-prison. On the square next to it, two unmarked wagons waiting. Is this related to the uncontrollable demonstration that took place in the streets of the neighbourhood earlier today? Did they want to put pressure on the public discussion scheduled that evening entitled “Direct action against the maxi-prison”? Regardless, after half an hour the pack moves on, the discussion takes place after a delay. After an hour of discussion, three vans and two cop cars with the police commissioner return in a flash. We then rush towards the door to prevent them from entering. They finally manage to break in with a crowbar, then take the identities and search certain people present, not without some varied and diverse resistance. Nine people who refuse to give their identities are also embarked upon, and the room is searched. After an identity control at Démosthène police station, all those arrested are more or less rapidly released, and overhear that the pretext was because the cops were looking for items related to “attacks” committed the same day against “an architectural office”. If the sudden intrusion of over a dozen boys in blue into our immediate environment is always unpleasant, rather than to moan, this will only strengthen our will to fight against the maxi-prison and those who want to build it.

Wild demonstration in Anderlecht, construction company of the prison attacked – Wednesday 14th January, it was not cold everywhere… An uncontrollable demonstration warmed the streets of Anderlecht (Brussels) a little. At around 6pm, a flare is lit, some tags are quickly made, and around thirty people take the street behind banners against the maxi-prison, identity controls and police raids. Leaflets are distributed along the route. At Clemenceau metro station, the cash machine of a bank is broken. At the intersection of the streets Clémenceau and Clinique, dozens of windows of the VK Engineering office are attacked; who are involved in the construction of the new prison in Beveren, collaborating in the planned construction of the maxi-prison in Haren, as well as the new prison in Dendermonde. The procession then dispersed, a little too late.

Incendiary devices found in front of an architectural office – In Leuven, two unexploded incendiary devices are discovered in front of the architects Jaspers & Eyers. The offices as well as the surrounding streets are evacuated. The Bomb Disposal Unit use their robot to neutralise the devices. Jaspers & Eyers is the largest architectural firm in Belgium, who have worked on the construction of new prisons, the new headquarters of the federal police, and various offices of big companies.

Bomb threats galore – In recent weeks, more than 35 bomb threats or false suspicious packages have interrupted business, causing evacuations and closures of companies and institutions. In the cross-hairs: various parliaments, the European Commission, the Palace of Justice in Brussels (three times), the courts of Charleroi and Dendermonde, shopping centres, a youth prison in Ruiselede, specific stores such as “Primark” in Liège or whole zones such in Sint-Pieters Leeuw, the pharmaceutical complex of GlaxoSmithKline, and of course from the local police to the base of the federal police and its new headquarters in Brussels. The police denounce these false threats and indicate that some unknown individuals were knowingly depositing suspicious packages, such as at the federal headquarters in Etterbeek (Brussels), where a box is placed 2.5 meters high.

Escape from a detention centre – In mid-February, twelve people escape from a detention centre for undocumented migrants in Bruges. In the evening, while some undocumented inmates of the detention centre in Bruges (located next to a command post of the Federal Police) simulated a brawl in order to divert attention, others broke two windows in the “living room”. Then they attacked the fences, chemically anchored structurally, which they managed to remove. As the room is on the first floor, the twelve prisoners descended with the help of knotted sheets. Finally, they climb one last fence before disappearing into the wild.

Rain of Molotovs against the police in Laeken – On the night of New Year’s Eve in Laeken (Brussels), a police patrol is pursuing two youths who start running. The patrol repeatedly tried to run down the youth. Before even arriving: they crush the leg of the youth Abdelamine (19) against a wall. Taken to hospital, the doctors decide to amputate their leg. Another sad episode in the series of police brutality and murder. Tuesday 6th January 2015, around 8pm in the evening, dozens of people gather to remind the police that this mutilation, the official lies that followed, and atrocious comments made by police officers mocking the fate of Abdelamine will not go unanswered: stones and petrol bombs rained down on the police station in Laeken. Inside were three cops. The damage remained limited however. With the arrival of reinforcements, the attackers dispersed. Eight people were arrested during a sweep of the area, with one person later released after standing before the prosecutor.

Brussels: The struggle against the construction of a maxi-prison

This analysis was originally published in “Ricochets” n° 1 in November 2014, a newsletter in French on the struggle against the construction of the maxi-prison in Haren, Brussels. The following text is the first in a series of translations by Person(s) Unknown Publications, as part of a new brochure in the making on the struggle against the maxi-prison:

The Belgian state want to build a new prison in Haren, north of Brussels. It is supposed to become the largest prison in Belgium, a maxi-prison [a massive prison-complex], a genuine prison town that would include five different prisons on the same terrain. Like other new prisons built in the last two years, this one in Brussels would also be developed by what is called a “private-public partnership”. This means that the construction and management of the prison is entirely in the hands of private companies, and that the State rents out for 25 years to these companies, after which it eventually becomes state property. Therefore you don’t have to look far to understand the huge economic interests that this project represents.

The maxi-prison will also be the first Belgian prison where it will be possible to lock up vast numbers of people at the same time (the complex composes of 1,200 cells), for men as for women and children. A court established within the prison is intended to help limit the detainees movements even more to a minimum.

The construction of this atrocity is the icing on the cake of the “master plan” designed by prior governments, envisaging the construction of approximately nine new prisons, throughout the country. This plan is sold to the public as the ultimate answer to overpopulation, and the advanced breakdown of certain prisons, as a major step towards more humane confinement, with more attention to the integrations of prisoners. Such a manoeuvre became almost inevitable for power, seeing that for years the prison world has been plagued by escapes, hostage-taking of prison guards, refusal to go back to the cells, large and small uprisings. In addition, detention conditions have led to several international authorities slapping the Belgian state on the wrist. They therefore want to do away with the disorder, revolt and international attention. But all this ‘out of a hat’ humanisation discourse in times of supposed crisis, to ensure that the public accepts this enormous influx of money for imprisonment, is obviously absolute bullshit. This is only contemporary packaging for something ancient; the power that sharpens its repressive weapons even more; to shelter itself, to defend its system, to preserve its direction towards more control and oppression.

In different ways we currently inject money into the Justice System of Belgium. There are not only the thousands of new cells, there is also the extension of electronic tagging, house arrest, community service, fines, etc. For the state, it is not to humanise its punishments, but instead to extend them to all those who continue to re-enter DIY structures to stay out of the lap of justice. In greatly increasing the prison capacity and expanding the possibilities for alternative sentencing, they want to give us all the possible means to have more of a grasp in society; in order to punish even more people and lock them up in prison, their accommodation, with a job, or financial debts.

And the powerful understand more than ever that the achievement of this goal is not only by the traditional foundations of the repressive apparatus. If we look at the city of Brussels, we see that the maxi-prison is not the only project with the objective to control people, to determine their behaviour in different ways, to influence and to limit their daily lives. To the far remote corners of the city, the projects that evidently grow like mushrooms: the construction of new police stations to the installation of more CCTV, additionally by the increased presence of police in the street. The extension of the European district to create an extremely well controlled public transport network, that must bring the workforce living outside of the city quickly and efficiently to their workplace. The construction of temples dedicated to ever-growing consumption, the implementation of new expensive accommodation in the poorest neighbourhoods, so as to achieve “social cleansing”. All these brilliant inventions are nothing more than instruments with the sole aim of keeping people in line, or to force them to toe the line, and; to target, humiliate, hunt or lock up those who can not, or who consciously refuse. The new maxi-prison in Haren and the urban renovation in Brussels are two sides of the same coin.

It’s been almost two years since the first leaflets expressing a radical opposition to the construction of the prison were distributed in Haren, connecting the umpteenth repressive project of the state directly with the slow but certain transformations of the city into a large open-air prison. Since then, the struggle was born which has experienced many different initiatives and intensities: leaflets, posters, tags, gatherings, occupations, demonstrations, sabotage and direct action. All these initiatives breath an anti-political attitude, and are an invitation to each and everyone to also go on the attack, into direct conflict with the powerful and their plans. They also claim autonomy of the struggle, encouraging everyone to organise themselves when, how and with whom he/she/they deem best, in direct confrontation against that which oppresses us.

The construction of the maxi-prison in Haren will never be prevented only with words. Imagination, ideas, perseverance, passion and acts of each and everyone of us can fuel a fire that not a single project, of any stronghold of power, is able to resist. Continue to explore the paths, taking action.

Haren, Brussels: Maxi-prison construction site fencing torn down

“In the shadow of a prison, no-one can be free. No to the maxi-prison, let’s be uncontrollable!” Click here for the English version of the poster.

Report published in Ricochets n° 04, the newsletter against the maxi-prison [a massive prison-complex] and the world that goes with it:

In the last week of February, a group of people brought down nearly half of the 400 Heras fences that had just been installed with the aim of surrounding the site of the future maxi-prison [in Haren]. The preliminary stage of work, the fences enclosing the area, has already provided a taste of the militarisation and devastation caused by the construction of the jail. If it is good news that the terrain was liberated from these vile fences, we also know that this is only the beginning, and that the builders of the maxi-prison will continue their malicious work. Unless, of course, they are faced with resistance which does not cease to put spanners in the works…

Greek

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.

Belgium – “Operation Ashes”: Comrades’ houses raided and searched

Brussels – May 22, 2013 to 6am, dozens of police officers from the anti-terrorist section of the Federal Judicial Police raided three homes where, among other people, anarchist and anti-authoritarian companions live. The cops also raided the anarchist library Acrata. All those who were present (11) were arrested and taken to the offices of the Federal Police.

The charges are: membership in a terrorist organization, conspiracy and arson. The operation is called “ashes” (Opération Cendres) and is directed by the investigating judge Isabelle Panou, notorious for her long career in government service.

The police confiscated many documents, personal belongings, computers and everything related to computing, GSM (mobile phones), agitation material, etc. During the interrogation—during which everyone refused to cooperate—it appeared that the inquiry covers the struggles, revolts and activities from 2008 to present including those against prisons, construction of the new detention center in Steenokkerzeel, the Brussels transport company (STIB/MIVB), the European institutions and the Eurocrats, the construction of a RER in Brussels, NATO, the deportation machine, bailiffs and the construction of a maxi-prison in Brussels. Publications such as Hors-Service (“Out-of-Service”) were also singled out, and more generally texts, posters, etc. distributed by anarchists and anti-authoritarians.

At 1pm, everyone was released without having to appear before the judge.

Faced with accusations of terrorism and their lot of intimidation and harassment, it is vital that we do not abandon the ideas and acts aimed at the destruction of all authority and the joy of this battle.

Let’s continue to fight for freedom, to bring down this deadly world that oppresses and exploits.

Nothing is finished, everything continues
Let’s attack what oppresses us

Brussels, May 23, 2013