The Belgian government has warned it will not give in to the demands of hundreds of illegal immigrants who are staging a hunger strike.
Around 600 people in different locations across Belgium have not eaten for weeks in the hope authorities will grant them work permits. With one person already reported to have been rushed to intensive care in Brussels, doctors are calling on the government to act. Doctor Rita Vanobberghem said: “As you can see, people can scarcely move. They are lying down, they feel extremely weak. Every part of their body aches, they’re having headaches, they’re dizzy. Each one of them has something to complain about, and it is getting more and more serious everyday”. Despite the health risks, and pleas from authorities to end the protest, the requests have fallen on deaf ears. In March, Belgium’s five party ruling coalition announced a new immigration policy based on a points system, which includes among other things so called long-term local integration. But, the guidelines remain obscure, despite calls for clarification.