Hunger strikers spend night outside
A group of hunger-striking Iraqi refugees will spend Thursday night sleeping rough as part of their first day of protest.
The 30 or so asylum seekers assembled in Place Clairefontaine at noon where they held banners and refused all food in a bid to speed up the processing of asylum applications.
Wilson Mikail, an Iraqi national who is leading the hunger strike, said he was tired of waiting for a response to his asylum application but that the demonstration had had no effect.
He said: “We're here to see the Prime Minister. But, we've been here since noon and we've had no answer from the government. One of the ministers came into the street but said they didn't know what was going on with our applications. They said that we were blackmailing the government by using our kids in the protest.”
The group has already received blankets and cardboard boxes from charitable organisations to make their first night as comfortable as possible. Children have also been given food, as Wilson underlines that they are not being pushed to assist in the hunger strike.
The planned protest was announced in mid-August. Wilson explained in an earlier interview with wort.lu/en that he, his wife and step-daughter had submitted his asylum application to authorities 14 months ago and had not even received an interview.
While he is grateful for the accommodation given by Luxembourg during the wait, he says that he cannot go on like this. “It's come to the point where we have to do something. It's not a life here,” he said.
On Thursday afternoon he pledged to continue the protest until he was the last man standing. “I will continue to my last breath. I think that most of the families will do it too. We just want to see our lives improve. We want to know if it's OK to stay in Luxembourg or, if not, they just want an answer.”