Press Release – DAY 42 of the hunger strike

Press Release

Monday, March 7, 2011

DAY 42 of the hunger strike

 

The 50 migrants on the 7th floor of the Labor Centre have been on a hunger strike for 42 days now. They are determined to continue with their struggle until their demands are fulfilled and they get equal rights with Greek workers. At the moment, all strikers are experiencing the consequences of extreme fasting: They feel dizzy when walking and have difficulty standing up, while 17 of them are being hospitalized at different hospitals in Thessaloniki. According to the medical report today, “they are suffering liver malfunction, delay in coagulation times due to lack of vitamin C intake, low heart rate with occasional arrhythmia, hypoglycemia and reduced white blood cell count. Their immune system is particularly vulnerable.

From now on, their health condition could take an unexpected turn, since it is highly probable that complications will occur. For this reason, the presence of physicians at the Labor Centre in Thessaloniki is constant, and the hunger strikers who need further treatment or hospitalization are immediately sent to the public hospitals on duty.”

The hunger strikers would like to express their grief with the death of the 3 Bangladeshi migrants as well as their concern for the 11 who are still missing after yesterday’s tragedy at Souda Bay in Crete. The full-heartedly support their Bangladeshi brothers. The strikers call people and groups to show their solidarity to the surviving Bangladeshis at Souda.

Yesterday the president and the vice-president of the Hellenic Medical Association visited the hunger strikers at Ypatia and stated among other things that: “>From a medical and a humanitarian point of view, things have come to a head”. They added: “The government can and should offer a solution so that no life is lost. Within the existing legal framework, the government can grant them residency permits on humanitarian grounds”.

Women against the Debt and the Austerity Measures also expressed their solidarity with the 300 hunger strikers stating that “at this crucial moment we demand that the government meet the demands of the 300 migrant hunger strikers which are the demands of all migrants who live and work in our country under the worst conditions (undeclared and uninsured labor, bosses’ terrorism etc.)

Solidarity messages from all over the world keep pouring in. Representatives of political parties in France made an appeal to the Greek government: The Socialist Party (PS), the Communist Party of France (PCF), the New Anticapitalist Party (ΝPA), the Left Party (PdG), the Workers’ Struggle  (Lutte Ouvrière), the Greens and the Solidaires Union call “the Greek government to intervene immediately and prevent the tragedy from happening, by offering papers to the migrants, so that they can find a job again in this country where they have lived, often with their families, for many years.”

The 10th of March 2011, which will be the 45th day of the hunger strike, is an international day of solidarity and actions of disobedience for the 300 hunger strikers. A solidarity initiative from the US is calling for “actions against establishments connected to Greek tourism: 15% of the GNP of Greece comes from tourism and in fact, tourism and migration are the two sides of the same legal right to free mobility and travel. The struggle of the hunger strikers is a struggle for all migrants, all workers, all citizens of the world.”

 

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