Protestors call for closure of detention centres
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