Protestors prepared to go on hunger strike

A group of around 50 immigrants locked themselves in at the Santa Catalina Thomás parish church in Palma on Friday night and mounted a sit-in protest against the new immigration law, calling for better treatment and the church to arbitrate in the debate. Yesterday the group, made up of immigrants from North Africa, Rumania, the Ukraine and South America, were still locked in the church and said they are prepared to sit the protest out “to the very end.” By that, none of the protesters would rule out going on hunger strike until the politicians agree to listen to their requests and take effective action. The Palma protest also sparked a similar demonstration in Ibiza. A spokesperson for the Palma 50 said yesterday that there is a large number of people in the Balearics, without documentation who are being forced to live under very difficult situations. Tomorrow morning (Monday) a group of representatives who intend to force a meeting with the central government delegate to the Balearics, Catalina Cirer, explained “we don't want help, only justice and dignity.” A call also went out to the church in the Balearics to step in and help “defend immigrants' rights and help those without documentation.” One of the spokespeople, Ernesto Baletto, said yesterday “the situation is a time bomb waiting to go off, this is why it is so important that some form of action to ease the immigrants' situation is taken urgently.” Madiop, from Senegal, said “the immigrants without their paperwork in order are scared of being expelled, we suffer police abuse and discrimination, we neither get health care, nor education and there is a shortage of acceptable housing, all this in the so-called first world.” “We all know that there is a shortage of manual labour here and we've come to work with honour, but the situation we are caught up in is caused by insensitive policies which are benefiting the wrong people.” “Immigrants know that the enemy is the government and its policies and that it is not a war between Spanish workers and immigrants without documentation.” On the surface the Balearic government supports the immigrants, who in turn have called on Palma to introduce a special immigration plan and that the Ministry for Labour takes care of eradicating exploitation in the Balearics.

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