A video posted to social media purports to depict ‘migrant gangs’ stealing luggage from a tour bus in France.
Young men can be seen rushing to a FlixBus as it rolls down a city block and forcing its cargo doors open while yanking out suitcases and bags.
In France migrant gangs have found a new way to rob bus passengers pic.twitter.com/VPGTJGjm9p
— Voice of Europe ? (@V_of_Europe) July 18, 2018
According to additional reports, the robbery took place in Paris after France won the World Cup, which led to rioting and a crime spree across the country.
FlixBus is a German company offering service between many European cities.
Belgian publication HLN reports that FlixBus will now avoid stopping in a migrant-heavy area of Brussels where a series of armed robberies and luggage stealing have also taken place.
“Drivers of the European bus company FlixBus are fed up with the unsafe situation in Brussels-North,” HLN reports. “The company demands extra security and is already looking for another stopping point in the capital.”
“Several times a week I am threatened,” one driver said.
“The emergency number on the bus is often not answered,” said another driver. “We are fed up and demand security.”
A spokesperson for the local police unit acknowledged that migrant gangs are actively targeted tourist buses.
“Brussels-North is not the most safe neighborhood; the Maximilian Park, where many migrants come together, is close by. In the evenings they often hang around near the station,” said Audrey Dereymaeker. “We know the arrival and departure times of the buses and try to align our patrols, but that does not always work, because we also have other tasks.”
Bus company to leave Brussels migrant suburb after numerous violent incidents
Edward Crawford – Roman Yanushevsky / shutterstock.com
Bus drivers from the company FlixBus sounded the alarm about the several serious incidents each week in the northern part of Brussels. Incidents like robberies and knife threats in Brussel-Noord, Belgian newspaper HLN reports.
“Several times a week I experience threatening situations”, one bus driver says. Most often gangs loiter at the bus stations waiting for the arrival of buses with plans to steal luggage and rob passengers.
According to the driver incidents include intimidation, violence, knife attacks, thefts and fights.
“We barely get a reply if we use the emergency number on the bus. We are sick of it and demand security,” the bus driver says.
While FlixBus says several measures have already been taken to increase safety, the bus drivers choose to avoid parking at Brussel-Noord station if that is their last stop. The company is now looking for another station to stop in the Belgian capital.
“We are aware of the situation at ‘Brussels Noord’ station. The safety of our passengers is our top priority and we are working diligently to improve the situation at the bus stop (..) In addition we are already in talks with the Brussels capital region about a new bus stop for international buses,” an official statement of FlixBus reads.
Police in the area admit there’s a problem with the area: “Brussel-Noord isn’t the safest area; it is near the ‘Maximiliaanpark’, a place where a lot of migrants gather. At night they hang around near the station,” according to officer Audrey Dereymaeker.
Dereymaeker says police try to help by patrolling the area when buses arrive or leave. He advises bus companies to use security personnel in the area.
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