The City of Athens called on Friday for the government to accept the asylum applications of a group of some 200 Syrians who have been camped on Syntagma Square in the city center for the last 10 days.
The municipality said in a statement that it is clear that the Greek state “is unprepared for providing war refugees with the things that international treaties demand, such as shelter and medical care.”
It advocated that the government fast-track the asylum process for the protesting Syrians, whose group includes young children. Some of the refugees have been on hunger strike for the past few days, leading to almost 20 of them fainting and having to be taken to the hospital.
During a news conference at Syntagma Square on Friday, the Syrians also asked to be given the right to leave Greece. An Interior Ministry official has met with the refugees and informed them about their asylum rights.
“The only solution for ourselves and our families is to have the right to go to another country to start a new life of dignity for our children,” said Nander Halbuni, a representative of the group, according to Agence France-Presse.
Authorities on Crete, meanwhile, on Friday began the process of providing jabs to almost 600 refugees who were rescued from a cargo ship that had suffered engine failure off the island earlier this week. The refugees, mostly Syrians, are being housed in an indoor basketball stadium and have been provided with mattresses, blankets and food.