Dozens of Afghan men, women and children marched from the Labor Ministry to the European Commission’s office in downtown Athens on Tuesday, demanding equal rights for all refugees.
The protesters, who were backed by local migrant rights activists, demanded a stop to all deportations and the cancellation of an agreement between Brussels and Ankara for returning migrants denied asylum in Europe back to Turkey.
They also demanded that refugees stranded in Greece by slow asylum procedures be reunified with family members that have already been transferred to other countries inside the European Union.
“Right now in Afghanistan we have Islamic State and the Taliban warlords, as well as NATO, all at war, while US President Donald Trump has said he will intensify the military presence in the country,” one protester who identified himself only as Mohammed told the ANA-MPA news agency. “There is a state of war. Under no circumstances can Afghanistan be deemed a ‘safe country.’ How can they send people back there?”
“From the moment we stepped off the boat, we have been treated differently to other refugees, like Syrians for example,” said Ali, another protestor. “In the meantime, I am trapped here. I can’t get a job and I can’t go to school. I have lived in camps for the past two years.”