Athens, Greece – Hundreds of Syrian refugees have staged a protest opposite the Greek Parliament since mid-November demanding full asylum rights. Men, women and children, wrapped in blankets, camped out on the pavement sleeping on cardboard boxes and in sleeping bags.
The group decided to go on a mass hunger strike on November 24 for greater rights.
Syrian refugees have fled a devastating war back home and Greece is bound by international law to address their immediate requirements for housing, sustenance, and basic medical care, as well as protection for the most vulnerable, especially children.
But refugees seeking asylum say they’ve become trapped in Greece because it – like other European countries – prohibits them from travelling freely to other nations to reunite with relatives or seek better opportunities.
The Syrian protesters are demanding the right to seek sanctuary in other countries.
About 46,500 Syrians have arrived in Greece since 2011, more than half of them this year. It is not known how many have slipped across Greek borders to make their way further north illegally.