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VIDEO: Meet the refugee hunger-strikers willing to die for the Jungle

'If we die, maybe our voice will be heard and they will finally understand that we are doing this for the whole of the Jungle,' one striker told MEE.
'If we die, maybe our voice will be heard,' says one protester (MEE/Yannis Mendez/Charles B. Anthony)

WATCH the exclusive interview here:

The Iranian refugees watched as their homes at the sprawling Calais refugee camp were demolished by the French government. They decided hunger-striking was their only option, and sewed their mouths shut in a painful act of defiance.

Sixteen days into their strike, the protesters are weak and fragile. Two of the original 11 have been forced to end their defiance through illness, and others have spent time in hospital.

Image still from film of the youngest hunger striker, Sasan, age 17 (MEE/Yannis Mendez)

But their comrades vow to continue until all in the camp, dubbed the "Jungle" by residents, are able to claim asylum in France without condition.

French authorities want the strikers to end their protest and have offered housing in cargo containers turned into temporary homes. 

Close-up photograph of Calais hunger striker (MEE/Yannis Mendez)

Negotiations hit a barrier on Friday when authorities demanded the protesters accept their new homes or face an end to negotiations. The hunger-strikers refused.

Maktar, one of the protesters, told MEE that the group had put themselves at risk for the good of all those at the camp.

Image still from film of shelter where interview took place (MEE/Yannis Mendez)

Huddled together in one of the few remaining structures inside the camp, the protesters told MEE they were not afraid of sacrifice.

"If we die, maybe our voice will be heard and they will finally understand that we are doing this for the whole of the Jungle," another striker told MEE.

Protesters gather in one of the last remaining structures (MEE/Yannis Mendez)

"We want help for all the women and children in the camp," said Ismal, another of the protesters.
This week Middle East Eye visited the group to find out why they are willing to risk their lives for their cause.
Calais hunger strikers message to the world:

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