Belgium prison strike: Army mobilised to help


Belgium has sent in 180 soldiers to help with staff shortages in prisons affected by a strike for the last two weeks.

The army are to assist the police and the Red Cross who have been working in jails since the strike began.

Soldiers have already been deployed to three of the largest prisons affected, Lantin, Saint-Gilles and Forest.

Prison employees in Brussels and French-speaking Wallonia are on strike over staffing levels.

Ministers decided on Sunday to requisition the army “to provide additional humanitarian support” in the Brussels and Wallonia prisons, Le Soir reports.

Some inmates were not being given basic rights such as three meals a day, showers and family visits, it said.

‘No money’

Belgian Human Rights League President Alexis Deswaef said it was the first time the army had been used in a social conflict in Belgium.

Flaws in the prison system, caused by underinvestment, were at least partly to blame for increased radicalisation in Belgian jails, he said.

“There is no money for any social guidance, any psychological guidance, any religious guidance,” he told the BBC.


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