A month-long standoff between a catholic cathedral and deported Roma refugees in Germany ended Monday after police removed the uninvited guests.
About 50 Roma refugees took shelter at a cathedral in the town of Regensburg in early July in protest of deportation orders back to their native Balkan countries. The migrants argued a return wouldn’t be safe for them, and they asked for church sanctuary to remain in Germany. (RELATED: Refugees Occupy Landmark German Cathedral In Protest Of Deportation)
“In our homeland we’re discriminated against. Our children can’t go to school and people who are very sick can’t get healthcare,” a spokesperson from the group told local news outlet BR24 in July. “We’re occupying the cathedral to build a better future for our children.”
The situation escalated last week when the church pressed trespassing charges and cut the migrants’ food supply. The last 16 migrants remaining agreed to leave the church voluntarily Friday, but asked the church for food until they left.
Bavaria’s Refugee Council called the cathedral’s eviction methods “outrageous” and criticized the lack of help it provided for the occupiers.
“They could find a way if they wanted to guarantee the voluntary exit from the country,” said Gotthold Streitberger of the Bavarian Refugee Council, according to Deutsche Welle.
The church released a statement Monday saying the standoff was over and that it will resume services as normal.
“The final 16 people have left the community center and are on their way to the authorities, who will clear up the remaining business,” a statement released Monday read. “The community center is now once again available for church use. The necessary restoration work can begin.”
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