An estimated 2,500 people marched to the Interior Ministry in Brussels Saturday afternoon calling on the authorities to grant stay permits to about 350 Iranians whose asylum applications has been rejected, IRNA reported.
The march was organized by a number of Belgian human rights groups and the Iranian asylum seekers.
Last month about 200 Iranians sought refuge in the premises of the Brussels Free University after their asylum application was rejected by Belgian authorities.
The Belgian interior ministry says they are not political refugees but merely economic immigrants and that they face no problems if they return to Iran.
About 30 of the Iranian immigrants are on a hunger strike since two weeks to press their demands.
The Interior Minister of Belgium Patrick Dewael has refused to discuss with the Iranian strikers, saying that a hunger strike is 'unacceptable in a democratic country with the rule of law'.
Meanwhile, the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in a press release today said any Iranian citizen wishing to return back to his homeland can do so without any problems.
The embassy said it was ready to help and facilitate the return of any Iranian if he or she wished to do so.
The press release noted that in the past asylum requests of a number of Iranians in Belgium had been rejected and they returned to Iran without any problems.
It said that some anti-Iran groups are exploiting the situation to propagate false propaganda against the Islamic Republic.
... Payvand News - 11/8/03 ... --