Some Brussels police stay off work in wildcat strike action

AP News
Posted: Jan 06, 2017 6:49 AM

BRUSSELS (AP) — Police in the part of Brussels that has been at the center of anti-terror actions over the past year are staying away from duty, concerned about the strain of excessive working hours.

The Brussels West zone, which covers Molenbeek, said that both the night shift and Friday's morning shift called in sick, affecting 74 officers.

"It's a move out of anger," said Brussels West police chief Johan De Becker. "The officers complain about an excessive workload, notably related to the fight against radicalization."

Police from other zones have moved in to take over duties.

Molenbeek had extensive links to the November 2015 attacks in Paris, since some of the suspects were raised or were living in the Brussels neighborhood.

With the alert staying at the second-highest level in Brussels and added duties in the wake of the March 22 Brussels attacks, the police corps has been seriously stretched.

"The people are fed up," said Kris Verstraeten of the SLFP police union. "There are not enough police in the interventions brigade."