Associated Press/New York Times
January 25, 2011
More than 250 immigrants began a hunger strike in Greece on Tuesday, demanding to be legalized and challenging a Greek government crackdown on migrant trafficking.
Some 200 immigrants, mostly from North Africa, launched the hunger strike at Athens University Law School after taking a ferry to Athens from the island of Crete. Supporters said 50 others went on a hunger strike in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.
Police are forbidden by law to enter university grounds without special permission.
The Socialist government flatly ruled out considering the demands.
"There is no intention and no possibility of a mass and indiscriminate legalization of aliens who have entered and reside in the country illegally," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
Greece is the busiest transit point for illegal immigration in the European Union, where some 128,000 migrants — about 350 a day — entering the country illegally in 2010, according to government figures.