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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Nonstop church service to protect refugees finally ends after 96 days

The Marathon service at a church in The Hague, Netherlands, has finally ended after 96 days.

Bethel Church began the three-month vigil to protect an Armenian family from being arrested and deported. The nonstop 96-day vigil, which began on October 26, finally ended yesterday, Wednesday, January 30, after its organizers received confirmation that a family of refugees sheltering inside the church would no longer face immediate deportation from the Netherlands.

The church was able to protect the five members of the Tamrazyan family by taking advantage of a Dutch law that forbids the police to interrupt church services.

Hayarpi Tamrazyan, 21, a member of the refugee family, reading a poem in December inside Bethel Church

The vigil was the longest religious ceremonies ever recorded, lasting for more than three months and involving nearly 1,000 pastors and priests.

Pastors from across Europe visited Bethel to participate in the service, many with several members of their congregations in tow, while more than 250,000 people signed a petition calling for a change to the law under which hundreds of families like the Tamrazyans could have been deported, The New York Times reports.

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