Number of hunger strikers being hospitalised rapidly increasing
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Number of hunger strikers being hospitalised rapidly increasing

© Belga

The number of undocumented migrants on hunger strike in Brussels that are being hospitalised is increasing at a rapid pace as the health situation of the group deteriorates.

Since last week, at least 60 of the activists who are protesting across all three locations in the city have been hospitalised for several hours every day to receive medical treatment and a follow-up.

On Sunday, 15 people who are protesting in the Beguinage church were hospitalised, whilst on Monday, seven people were given medical attention, and in the course of the day on Tuesday, another ten were taken away for a few hours, according to a spokesperson of the activists.

From one of the city’s universities (VUB), a total of 19 people were given medical care during the last three days, whilst 11 activists were taken away from the ULB site for several hours.

Several of the activists stopped accepting water last Friday, however, they have now almost all agreed to be given infusions. Those who previously refused to be given infusions were largely also those who ended up in hospital.

A spokesperson of the group did warn that no one has stopped the hunger strike and that they always return back to the strike sites after they have been given medical attention.

The more than 400 undocumented migrants who are asking for collective regularisation have been on hunger strike in Brussels since 23 May.

Way out of this crisis?

Meanwhile, no solution has been found, and the political tension as a result of the situation of the hunger strikers has continued to worsen this week.

Several of the government parties, including CD&V, Open VLD, MR, as well as Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, have backed State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Sammy Mahdi’s stance to refuse giving collective regularisation to the group.

However, the left block of the coalition has urged De Croo to take the case out of Mahdi’s hands.

On Monday, during the core cabinet meeting, French-speaking socialist party PS and green party Ecolo took this a step further by threatening to quit the federal government “within the hour” if any one of the activists dies, which would result in the current government falling.

The network which coordinates the situation of undocumented migrants in Belgium (Réseau de la Coordination des sans-papiers de Belgique) urged the seven leaders of the parties that make up the current government under the Vivaldi coalition to find a way out of the crisis on Tuesday.