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Hunger strikers suspend their protest

Over 400 undocumented people, who have been on hunger strike since 23 May, have suspended their protest.  The hunger strikers at the Beguinage Church in Brussels and at campuses of the Flemish and Francophone Free Universities of Brussels were seeking a collective regularisation of their situation and documentation allowing them to stay in Belgium legally.

The situation of the sanspapiers deteriorated markedly when they refused to drink too and several people were hospitalised.  Worries about the health of the hunger strikers set coalition partners up against each other in the federal government with the asylum secretary Sammy Mahdi (Flemish Christian democrat) sticking to his guns and refusing to bring forward any collective regularisation.

Mr Mahdi took to Twitter to voice his relief at today’s news: “For me this isn’t a fight against people, but a struggle in favour of correct policies.  Hopefully nobody will have suffered permanent injury”.

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