Illegal immigrants have taken their campaign to stay in Belgium into the skies above Brussels. Stepping up their protest, about 15 people climbed cranes at building sites in the Belgian capital. Hunger strikes by other protestors won them the right to stay and work in Belgium, and other immigrants want the same deal.
Mimoun Benmansour, a spokesman for the illegal immigrants, said:
“They are working on the black, because there are a lot of companies who need skilled workers. These people do not have papers, but they have the skills.”
The protesters fear that the arrival of summer and the constitutional crisis still paralysing Belgian politics will divert attention from their campaign.
Thierry Roosemont, Director General of Belgium’s Immigration Bureau, said:
“This is simply blackmail. These people are trying to highlight their protest by putting other people in danger. It is not good enough. It is not going to work, because we will apply the law, and it will not help if people act like this.”
Some of the protesters occupied cranes near the offices of the European Commission, which supports giving EU nations the right to detain illegal immigrants for up to 18 months.