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Zurich church standoff ends

The illegal immigrants who had been occupying a church in Zurich since December 19 left the premises on Sunday afternoon.

A group of 60-70 of them, out of the original 150, moved to a second church, where they are being allowed to stay until Wednesday, their support committee said.

Before leaving the Prediger church they tidied everything up, the committee added.

On Monday a delegation of the immigrants, led by the chairman of the local parish council, is to meet Hans Hollenstein, the member of the Zurich cantonal government with responsibility for security, to discuss their grievances.

Hollenstein had said he would not meet them unless they left the church.

The group undertook its action to draw attention to their difficult situation and to call for a more humanitarian attitude to hardship cases.

At a media conference on Saturday called by the support group, lawyer Marc Spescha, who specialises in asylum law, criticised the canton of Zurich for never submitting hardship cases to the central authorities.

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR