[MGSA-L] Syrian Refugees on a Hunger Strike in Athens -3 links- their declaration:

Saffo Papantonopoulou saffo at email.arizona.edu
Thu Nov 27 01:29:34 PST 2014

Thank you Akis--

There is also a facebook page for the protest, in Arabic



On Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 2:09 PM, Akis Gavriilidis <cr33396 at telenet.be>

> http://infomobile.w2eu.net/2014/11/26/syrian-refugees-in-
> syndagma-square-athens-3rd-day-hunger-strike-8th-day-sit-in/
> 300 persons in a sit-in, more than 150 on hunger strike, 45 children, at
> least 9 collapsed, 8 days sit-in, 3 days hunger strike
> In a bid for better living conditions, temporary working permits and
> medical care, more than 200 Syrians – among them many families with
> small children – fleeing the war-torn country and seeking asylum in the
> EU, have begun a hunger strike in Athens’ main square. Protesters began
> to gather on Syntagma Square on November 19, camping out and sleeping on
> cardboard boxes and in sleeping bags before staging the hunger strike on
> Monday. Dozens of Syrians are living homeless in the streets of Athens
> and Thessaloniki without any support. The demonstrators, many of who sat
> with masking tape covering their mouths, called for the Greek government
> find a way to solve the refugee crisis. Read their declaration:
> syrian-refugees-hunger-strike-.si
> http://syrianrefugeesgr.blogspot.gr
> We are the Syrian refugees who are standing from 19 November 2014
> outside of Greek Parliament in Athens at Syntagma square.
> We started hunger strike on 24 of November.
> We demand full asylum rights as refugees.
> We escaped from death in Syria. We escaped from death passing the Aegean
> sea. We want to live with dignity in Europe.
> Our demands are the following:
> · Open the boarding gates by affording us proper travel documents to
> enable us to travel abroad, inside European Union.
> · Support the Syrian refugees who are blocked in Greece. Book ships to
> transfer them to the countries which have already announced that they
> are ready to accept them.
> · Support Syrian refugees with full rights of refugee which include:
> regular salaries, shelter, food, health insurance, education,
> reunification of their families, and work permit.
> We call the Greek government to solve this issue immediately.
> We appeal to Greek Parliament to support our case.
> We appeal to Greek people for solidarity to our demand for full asylum
> rights.
> Blog by the syrian refugees in greece
> http://www.vice.com/read/syrian-refugees-on-a-hunger-
> strike-in-athens-are-starting-to-collapse-080
> Syrian Refugees on a Hunger Strike in Athens Are Starting to Collapse
> November 26, 2014
> by Nick Barnets
>  ​On Monday, November 24, more than 200 Syrian refugees began staging a
> hunger strike in front of the Greek parliament. It evolved out of a
> six-day-long sit-in the refugees embarked on to demand the right to live
> and work in Greece or leave the country legally. Activists have told me
> that nine people have been hospitalized, six people have collapsed, and
> others are starting to show symptoms of hypothermia.
> "We will stay. We will not eat. We will not drink. We will not do
> anything until the Greek government or the European Union responds,"
> says Jalel, a Syrian who has been in Greece for three months. Since the
> protest began last week, temperatures have dropped and the winds blowing
> through Syntagma Square have gone from bracing to freezing. On the sixth
> day, the group decided to commence a hunger strike even as one woman was
> taken to the hospital for symptoms of hypothermia.
> The number of Syrian refugees entering Europe through Greece continues
> to grow, according to the Wall Street Journal. Police statistics show
> that some ​29,000 refugees from Syria have entered Greece in the first
> ten months of this year, versus about 8,500 for the whole of 2013.
> According to Eurostat, 165,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Europe
> since the start of the war nearly four years ago. In the earlier days of
> the Syrian civil war, those seeking refuge in Europe would mostly come
> in through the land border Greece shares with Turkey.
> Since then, Greece, along with Frontex, the EU's border-protection
> agency, has beefed up security and built a  ​fence along its 128-mile
> border with Turkey. Now many migrants, mostly Syrian refugees, travel
> instead to the eastern Aegean Islands, some of which are only a few
> miles from the Turkish shore. Smuggling rings put desperate migrants on
> inflatable dinghies and send them across to Greece. The added danger of
> crossing the border this way has resulted in several deaths and
> disappearances, most recently late last week when four people—including
> a little girl—​went missing off the island of Lesbos.
> According to refugees, part of the problem is the lack of a legal way to
> leave Greece and go elsewhere in Europe. One told me he tried to leave
> Greece via FYR Macedonia, and said he was not only detained for 30 days
> but was also beaten by police, exacerbating gunshot wounds from when he
> was shot back in Syria. Others who have been caught in Macedonia have
> told me similar stories of prolonged detention and abuse by authorities
> there.
> Many of the Syrian refugees who have made it to Europe are highly
> educated former members of the middle class who sold most of their
> possessions to pay for their escape. They say they hope to use their
> skills to find work when they get to a country that has job
> opportunities for them. Obada is a doctor from the ISIS-controlled city
> of Raqqa. He and his family escaped to Turkey and he hopes to make it to
> either Italy or the UK where he has family. "Many of us here are
> doctors, pharmacists, engineers, and we need help from the European
> Union to resettle in a place where there's opportunities for us," he says.
> Sami, a 20-year-old from Damascus, left Syria with his mother, who is
> now in Switzerland. He has tried five times so far to travel to
> Switzerland and reunite with her only to be turned back at the airport.
> He has made some friends in Greece and says he likes Athens very much,
> but understands why it is not possible to stay here. "Greece cannot help
> us. We know this, but this is why we need to be allowed to move on from
> here," he says.
> Moyad, from Homs, has been in Greece for six months and has also tried
> numerous times to leave. "They don't want us here, but at the same time
> they are blocking us from going somewhere else," he says.
> Some of the refugees have more urgent situations. Khaleel, a
> 17-year-old who recently lost his hair, wants to seek medical care for
> cancer after being told by a doctor back home that he has symptoms but
> was unable to get tested there. He will attempt for the tenth time in
> three months to leave Greece this week to see a doctor in Paris.
> Despite repeated threats of eviction, the Greek police have refrained
> from forcing the Syrian refugees to leave Syntagma Square. Over the last
> week, many individual Greeks and some community groups have left
> clothes, blankets, and food donations. They say that until they are able
> to escape the bureaucratic trap they are in, they plan to continue
> sitting on cardboard boxes and resting in sleeping bags on the marble
> floor of Syntagma Square, because it's all many of them have left.
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