Hunger strikers started their protest in May (archive photo)

Brussels hunger strikers make “act of desperation”

Last night around 200 undocumented people locked themselves up in the Beguinage Church in Brussels.  The 200 are seeking a regularisation of their situation and have been on hunger strike for a month now. 

In an escalation of their protest the hunger strikers are now refusing all medical aid and have vowed not to let anybody into the church either.

The hunger strikers are pressing for their group to be regularised and for everybody to be given papers allowing them to stay in Belgium.  More hunger strikers are refusing food at the Free University of Brussels, the VUB.

The protesters stepped up their action after they wrote to Prime Minister De Croo (Flemish liberal) asking him to mediate.  He answered that he was not minded to intervene and that this was a matter for asylum secretary Sammy Mahdi (Flemish Christian democrat).

Michel Genet of the Belgian wing of Doctors of the World, an organisation that has been providing medical support: “This is clearly an act of desperation”. 

Asylum and migration secretary Mahdi earlier let it be known he would not concede to demands.  Dr Genet hopes the situation won’t escalate any further: “The hunger strikers are now willing to allow one of our staff members in.  He will be at the church this morning.”

Hunger strikers started their protest in May (archive photo)

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