25. November 2014 · Kommentare deaktiviert für Griechenland: Hungerstreik syrischer Flüchtlinge vor Parlament · Kategorien: Griechenland · Tags: ,

Syrian refugees stage hunger strike outside Greek parliament

Protests for rights of asylum seekers enter sixth day.

Syrian refugees sit with their mouths sealed with a tape, as they participate in a hunger strike in Athens on November 24, 2014.(AFP/LOUISA GOULIAMAKI)

Frustrated with their living conditions, Syrian refugees in Greece are staging a protest in front of the country’s parliament. The refugees have camped out in Athens‘ Syntagma Square since November 19 and recently began a hunger strike .

Among their complaints are lack of documentation, leaving Syrians vulnerable to exploitative landlords and unable to work. European Union regulations require refugees to apply for asylum in the first country they enter, preventing many Syrians from leaving Greece.

Associated Press

Syrian on hunger strike outside Greek parliament

DEREK GATOPOULOS / Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — More than 200 Syrian civil war refugees started a hunger strike Monday in front of Greece’s Parliament, urging the government to grant them temporary working and residence rights.
The protesters began gathering last week at Athens‘ main square, complaining that refugees are being forced to pay exorbitant black-market rates to live in squalid apartments in Athens.
„People are living in bad conditions. We get (temporary) travel documents, but we can’t go anywhere. We can’t work, or go to hospital, or rent a place to live,“ said Khaldoon Fadel, a 31-year-old former resident of Damascus, who joined the hunger strike.
The hunger strikers said they were only eating sugar. Several dozen of them sat on the marble-paved sidewalk with strips of box tape covering their mouths, and packages of flatbread placed in front of them.
„For an (apartment) that would cost 250 euros ($310) to rent per month, we have to pay 1,000 euros ($1,245),“ Fadel said.
Fadel, who had worked as a chain store manager and fashion designer for women’s clothing before fleeing Syria, made the hazardous journey across Turkey and by boat illegally to the Greek island of Kos.
Greece is a busy entry point for immigrants and refugees seeking entry to the European Union. The financial crisis-hit country has seen a spike in the number of Syrians crossing by boat illegally from nearby Turkey.
Authorities expect a three-fold increase in illegal immigration this year, compared with 2013, with nearly two-thirds of the illegal traffic now coming from Syria.
On Sunday, the regional governor of greater Athens, Rena Dourou, visited the protesters and said she had contacted the Greek Orthodox Church and the government to try and make arrangements to provide temporary shelter for Syrian refugees.

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