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Squatters to be cleared from former Chinese consulate

09:24 09/01/2024

Squatters who have taken up residence on the site of the former Chinese consulate in Auderghem will soon be evacuated after months spent at the building.

Several dozen people have been using the building for shelter since March and local residents have complained about both constant noise and rubbish piling up.

“We are disturbed until two, three or even four in the morning,” one resident told RTBF. “I've already asked them to clean up around here, but to no avail. I don't feel at home any more.”

The building was recently declared unsafe and a threat to public health, and the fire brigade responded to a fire on site last week.

“Following the fire, the evacuation planned for January will no doubt be brought forward,” acting mayor Alain Lefebvre said.

A number of offers to rehouse the people squatting there have been made over the past few months, but so far they have all been turned down.

“These people want to stay together, so they will have to find a solution themselves,” Lefebvre explained.

“[Chinese authorities] invoke diplomatic immunity and never reacted after the arrival of the first occupants.”

Residents complain that local authorities are too passive when it comes to China’s lack of response regarding the squatters.

Written by Helen Lyons