Palestinian camp wins reprieve

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A group of Palestinian refugees won’t have to break up the camp they set up in downtown Oslo to protest their plight as undocumented aliens in danger of being deported back to Gaza. City officials said they can remain, at least for the time being.

The refugees have lived in tents next to the former church now used for cultural events, Jakobskirken, that’s just across the street from the state immigration agency Utlendingsdirektoratet. They’re objecting to rejection of their applications for asylum, claiming that Gaza is unsafe.

“It’s strange,” one of the men remarked to newspaper Dagsavisen. “The (Norwegian) Foreign Ministry advises Norwegians against traveling to Gaza, but we’re supposed to be sent back there. We’re told it’s safe, but it isn’t.”

The situation remains deadlocked although city officials don’t want the Palestinians camping out downtown indefinitely. They refer to laws against camping inside the city center, against open fires downtown and note that the camp hinders access to open space behind it. The campers were told to leave just before the weekend, but won a reprieve early this week after the city’s new government line-up was announced.

Views and News staff