African immigrants hunger strike in Crete for legalisation

Immigrants in demand of legalisation go on hunger strike in Chania causing chain reaction of solidarity.

Submitted by taxikipali on November 26, 2008

Since Tuesday 11/11/08, 15 immigrants from North African countries have started a hunger strike in the city of Chania in the greek island of Crete. Their main demand is to obtain papers of legal stay in the country. Pitching tents outside the City Hall the hunger strikers have been the recepients of widespread solidarity.

After a series of fascist attacks on their tents, locals have formed patrols to avert further racist violence. At the same time demos have taken place in Thessaloniki, Athens and other Greek cities in solidarity to the hunger strikers, radio stations have been occupied across the country forced to transmit messages of counterinformation regarding the hunger strike, while their demands have been raised in parliament by an old victim of torture under the military junta.

Despite the harsh conditions they face, the hunger strikers themselves wrote an open letter of support to the prisoners' hunger strike that rocked the country in the previous weeks. When the Mayor of Chania tried to move the hunger strikers off the City Hall area, claiming their tents were visually polluting the city, a protest march cancelled his plans. Since Friday 21/11 the first symptoms of the hunger strike have appeared, with two immigrants were hospitalised but refused to end their hunger strike and returned to the tents.