Protestors call for closure of detention centres

23rd January 2006, Comments 0 comments

23 January 2006, BRUSSELS – More than 200 people marched in a protest in Wallonia, calling on the government to change its policies on asylum.

23 January 2006

BRUSSELS – More than 200 people marched in a protest in Wallonia, calling on the government to change its policies on asylum.

The protest on Saturday took place in Morlanweiz, between La Louvière and Charleroi, the location of a key closed refugee detention centre.

Activists from the union FGTB; the Christian Workers' Movement in Hainaut; the civil liberties group ASBL Droits; representatives from the asylum-seekers, currently occupying Saint-Boniface Church in Brussels; and local residents were among those present.

The group set off from Morlanweiz detention centre and finished at the town hall.

"I think Belgium is the only country where asylum-seekers have drawn up an alternative law," said a spokesman for l'Union de Défense des Sans Papiers (the Union for the Defence of Those without Papers) to the newspaper La Libre Belgique.

The secretary general of FGTB-Centre, Bernard Braglia, who came from a family of Italian immigrants, said: "Italian immigrants came to look after pasta… The Belgian government negotiated an economic immigration 50 years ago. Today, the government doesn't have the right to reject a humane immigration."

FGTB wants to see the closure of closed detention centres and an asylum procedure based on the priority of protecting immigrants.

Emma, a young Rwandan woman whose father and brother were killed in the mass genocide, told La Libre Belgique: "Even if the protest doesn't lead to us getting papers, it has given us courage."

[Copyright: Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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