Minister offers grace period to hunger strikers

Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis on Friday proposed that 287 economic migrants, who are in the fifth week of a hunger strike seeking legal residence, be granted a grace period of up to a year during which they can stay in Greece without any risk of deporation.

Ragousis offered a six-month grace period to the migrants, with a possible six-month extension, without determining whether the migrants’ legal status would be reviewed during this time. The offer was made following talks with representatives of a group that has been lobbying on behalf of the protesters, who are staying in a neoclassical building near central Athens.

The representatives of the hunger strikers convened early Friday afternoon to decide on a response to the minister’s offer.

The immigrants, most of whom are from North African countries, are calling on the government to renew their residence permits, which have elapsed due to a lack of social security credits.

Of the 287 migrants on hunger strike, 250 are in Athens and 50 in Thessaloniki. Dozens have been hospitalized in both cities with organ failure.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.