Around 50 Roma refugees who were rejected asylum in Germany have occupied Regensburg’s St. Peter Cathedral in protest of deportation.
The families moved into the majestic cathedral Wednesday, saying they won’t leave until their demands are met.
The refugees are ordered to leave Germany because their home countries — Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro — are all considered “safe countries,” which means their asylum claims are invalid. The occupiers argue the Balkan countries are not safe, especially not for people of Roma descent.
“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. “We’re occupying the cathedral to build a better future for our children.”
Banners put up outside the church read “We are not going to stop” and “All Roma stay here.”
The group has asked for sanctuary and the church is current considering what to do with the request. Police said they will not intervene as long as the church doesn’t ask them to.
“We are in close contact with the church,” a police spokesman said, according to Die Welt. “The Diocese said a police intervention is not necessary.”
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