Medic appeals to ministry over hunger strikers

A doctor overseeing more than 230 undocumented immigrants who have been on hunger strike for three weeks in a bid to push for legal residence status, appealed on Tuesday to the Health Ministry to intervene, noting that the condition of many of the protesters has become dangerously fragile.

Addressing a press conference at the neoclassical building near central Athens where the migrants have been staying since their sit-in at Athens University Law School was broken up at the end of last month, Thanassis Karabelis noted «a deterioration» in the health of the protesters. He said that many had lost up to 12 kilograms in weight. One has been hospitalized with heart problems while another eight have been transferred out of the building due to other ailments, he said.

Karabelis, one of a team of medics that has been monitoring the health of the migrants, organized Tuesday’s press conference along with several artists, actors and directors, who attended to express solidarity with the protesters’ cause.

Director Vangelis Theodoropoulos condemned Health Minister Andreas Loverdos for describing the building where the migrants are staying as «a ticking time bomb for public health,» saying that the minister’s comments were «dangerous.»

Most of the migrants staying at the Villa Ipatia are economic migrants from North African countries, some of whom have been working on Greek farms and building sites for years.

Last Friday, the owner of Villa Ipatia appealed to a prosecutor to intervene as the migrants refuse to leave. Constantinos Routzounis said he had offered his property as temporary accommodation for the migrants to break the impasse at the Law School and as a personal favor to Athens University Rector Theodoros Pelegrinis.

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