By SABOOR NADEM
Hundreds or more Afghan asylum seekers gathered in the center of Bern, the capital of Switzerland, and protested Saturday against the alleged unequal and unfair treatment of immigrants by the Swiss government.
Some of the protesters held signs that stated, “We are all human and the Swiss government should not differentiate between us.”
In particular, the protesters voiced opposition to Switzerland giving Afghan asylum seekers “F” cards. “F” status is a form of temporary residence given to individuals who have not received asylum in Switzerland but come from countries that are deemed unsafe by the international community.
Immigrants with F cards are prohibited from traveling internationally and entering nightclubs in Switzerland. They also are restricted from making various purchases, including certain types of SIM cards for cellphones.
While speaking with reporters, several protesters said, “We want the Swiss government to allow us to travel to other countries with the F card.”
The protesters also said the Swiss government should allow immigrants with F cards to buy SIM cards, phone plans and vehicles. The protesters say the Swiss government is giving F cards to many Afghan asylum seekers, making it impossible for them to travel to other countries. Also Swiss citizens are distrusting of immigrants with F cards, the protesters said.
Switzerland, which has a population of around 8 million, has a strict immigration policy for some immigrants from Asia and Africa.