Protesting immigrants to occupy another Swiss church

5th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

About 200 illegal immigrants protesting against their living conditions and status will move to another church in Zurich.

ZURICH – About 200 illegal immigrants occupying a downtown Zurich church for the past two weeks will move their protest to another one, an aid group said Saturday.

The immigrants, who are trying to have their status regularised and living conditions improved, had taken the decision to avoid a conflict with the church, said a spokesman for the Bleiberecht (right to remain) collective.

They would move Sunday to a church in another parish where they would remain for an "indefinite" period, the spokesman added.

Swiss authorities said earlier they would meet a delegation from the group on Monday if they vacated the church they had been occupying.

Most of the 150 to 200 people taking the action are from Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq and Sierra Leone.

The immigrants, some accompanied by their children, have been occupying the Predigerkirche in the old town of Zurich since 19 December, sleeping on mattresses which are stored during the day to allow services to take place.

The Reformed Church has condemned the occupation of one of its places of worship while expressing understanding of the claims made by the immigrants, including better living conditions in reception centres and the re-examination some asylum requests.

[AFP / Expatica]

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