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Belgium : refugees on hunger strike hospitalised

Currently 20 churches are being occupied in all of Belgium, in several different locations. Dozens of immigrants are on hunger strike. The people participating in the sit-ins are estimated to thousands. Their demand is regularisation of all sans-papiers on the basis of clear and permanent criteria, which is obstinately denied by the minister in charge Patrick deWaele. DeWaele rejected any responsibility for whatever will happen to the hunger strikers and denounced church and university officials and groups for supporting them, because this way "they are taking a political postion" (!! - as if it were a crime to "take a political postion").

Many of the refugees on hunger strike are organised in the UDEP (

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Hunger strikers hospitalised
Thurs 04/05/06 - A group of illegal immigrants staging a hunger strike in the Brussels district of Sint-Gillis have been taken away by police as it was dicovered that tuberculosis had broken out in the house. 12 Algerians and Mauritanians were taken to various hospitals. Most of the hunger strikers were allowed to leave hospital later on.

The police entered the house, near Sint-Gillis Town Hall, at 10:45 pm on Wednesday evening.

The 12 illegal immigrants have been on hunger strike since 7 April, in an effort to put pressure on the authorities to grant them leave to remain in Belgium.
Logo police

A police spokesman told journalists that the police had decided to act after a medical report said that the condition of some of hunger strikers was critical.

He added that although the hunger strike was being held on private property, the law allowed the police to intervene as lives were in danger.

"They can stay in Belgium"

5 other hunger strikers who were staying in the house were admitted to hospital last Saturday.

The hunger strikers had been refusing to drink, but agreed to take liquids again, after a meeting with the head of the Immigration Service Freddy Roosemont last Friday.

Mr Roosemont promised them that the could remain in Belgium for the time being, while their cases were be reviewed.

Local authorities are unsure about their whereabouts, as police had made sure they couldn't return to the house.
"Taken under duress"

A journalist from the Francophone public service broadcaster, who witnessed the events, claims that the hunger strikers were taken away under duress and that a few people tried to prevent the ambulances from taking them to hospital.

The local authorities in Sint-Gillis say that it was necessary to evacuate the house in the interest of immigrants' health, as tuberculosis has broken out there.

The house, which was provided by the Chairman of the National Collective of People without Papers, Abdel Bouchoukh, was being fumigated.


Meanwhile, 10 illegal immigrants have gone on hunger strike at the Broechem asylum centre in Antwerp province. Asylum seekers and illegal immigrants are currently staging protests at some 20 locations throughout Belgium.