Syrian refugees, who have fled conflict in their country, have staged a protest over their difficult conditions in Greece, Press TV reports.
The refugees held large banners in Arabic, Greek, and English during their protest in the Greek capital Athens on Sunday, calling on the Greek government to improve their living conditions and gave them asylum. They have been sleeping on the streets of Athens since Wednesday.
According to the European immigration policy, the Syrians cannot migrate to other EU member states unless on a tourist visa. Moreover, they can only stay for a maximum of three months every six months. The Syrian protesters said that EU immigration laws make it impossible for them to leave Greece or gain full legal status there.
“It’s not allowed to go to (other parts of) Europe and ask asylum there. So, you have to stay here. If I stay here, what can I do here?” a Syrian refugee said.
“We want full refugee rights here in Greece, not only passports. Because if I take this passport, I should give my fingerprints … and if I go to other countries in Europe, they will return me here,” Khaldoon Fadlullah, another Syrian refugee, said.
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. Millions of Syrians have fled their homes as a result of the conflict.
Syria’s neighbors, including Lebanon and Jordan, have warned that they have reached their threshold for accommodating the displaced Syrians.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein has said more than 200,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict since March 2011.
Syrian refugees went on a hunger strike on Monday. The protesters have taped their mouths shut and demand asylum and medical assistance. One of the protesters, a syrian woman, fainted on Monday and was taken to hospital. Attica Governer Rena Dourou said that on Sunday, she spoke to the head of the Church of Greece Ieronymos, Public Order Minister Vassilis Kiklias and Deputy Interior Minister Giorgos Dolios in an effort to find a way to aid the refugees.
(source: Press TV, European immigration policy, irishtimes)