Illegal migrants end hunger strike

Hunger-striking illegal migrants decided on Wednesday afternoon to stop their action after talks with the government and acceptance of the latter's proposals. A previously published offer by the government called for a six-month period of "tolerance", with the prospect of another six-month stay in the country.

The proposal was presented to the hunger-strikers by Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis, Health Minister Andreas Loverdos and Labour Deputy Minister Anna Dalara.

Following the meeting between a delegation of the hunger-strikers and the ministers, members of the group held a press conference at the central Athens mansion where they have been camped out.

More than 100 of the hunger-striking illegal migrants in Athens and at the Thessaloniki labour centre are being treated in local hospitals as a result of their more than month-long abstention from food and most fluids.

The migrants, all males from north African countries ferried from Crete last month, had demanded their full legalisation in the country, meaning residence and work permits. Initially, the migrants and their local supporters also demanded a full legalisation of all illegal migrants in Greece, a demand that was repeatedly and unequivocally rejected by the government.

Hunger striker 'supporters' charged for preventing them eating

Two members of the Solidarity Committee supporting a group of migrants on mass hunger strike were charged with causing grievous bodily harm on Wednesday after doctors at a Red Cross hospital in Athens accused them of preventing hunger strikers from eating.

According to doctors, the migrants had asked hospital staff for food but this could not be given to them after the two women from the Solidarity Committee stopped them from being served.

The two women, charged with causing harm by omission and unlawful violence, are to go before a misdemeanours police court.

The Solidarity Committee denied the charges against the two women in an announcement on Tuesday, claiming that the hunger strikers had themselves chosen not to eat. Their lawyer claimed that the migrants themselves refused to eat and the two women were not involved.

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