Home News Illegal immigrants occupying church end protest

Illegal immigrants occupying church end protest

Published on 08/01/2009

ZURICH – Nearly 70 illegal immigrants who had been occupying two churches in Zurich for the past 20 days ended their protest on Wednesday after a meeting with city authorities, an aid group said.

The immigrants, who are seeking asylum in Switzerland and have complained about their living conditions, have all left the site, a spokesman for the Bleiberecht (right to remain) collective said.

The demonstrators achieved "partial success" when they met Monday with city authorities, who told them they were prepared to examine their asylum requests, according to Bleiberecht.

Most of an initial protest group of nearly 200 people – including children – were from Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq and Sierra Leone.

The demonstrators moved on Sunday from Predigerkirche to another Zurich church, Saint-Jacques.

The immigrants, who have been sleeping on mattresses which are stored during the day to allow services to take place, said they had moved to avoid "conflict" with members of the Reformed Church opposed to their presence.

[AFP / Expatica]