Four Weeks On Hunger Strike

Tents in Athens where the hunger strikers are living
Tents in Athens where the hunger strikers are living

Dramatic events are unfolding in Athens as the 287 immigrant workers’ hunger strike completes four weeks today, Monday, 21 February.

Four hunger strikers have been taken to hospital already.

Last Friday, at a press conference Dr Thanasis Karambelis, part of the medical team which examined the hunger strikers, stated that they are facing ‘serious medical problems’.

Yesterday, Hasan, one of the hunger strikers, collapsed and was taken to hospital as he spoke appealing to the Greek government to grant equal rights to all immigrant workers and ‘legalise’ them.

Dr Karambelis said that ‘soon the government will face a serious humanitarian disaster; the government confronts the hunger strikers thinking that it can avoid (the matter).’

Hunger strikers have received wide support from dozens of trade unions as well as from the GSEE (Greek TUC) and ADEDY (federation of public sector workers).

They have been visited by left-wing EMPs and received a letter of support from Mike Cowley, Edinburgh’s Telford College EIS, Edinburgh North and Leith Labour Party.

Last Friday, hundreds of youth participated in an evening demonstration in Athens in solidarity with the hunger strikers despite a storm.

The 237 hunger strikers in Athens (the other 50 are in Salonica) are housed in very difficult conditions at a building in the centre of the city which does not hold all of them.

About 80 of them live in canvas tents in the gardens of the building. Overcrowding and bad weather conditions have worsened the situation.

One of the assembly points for this Wednesday’s massive demonstration of the one-day general strike is to be outside the building where the hunger strikers are.