Refugees Stranded in Belgrade Begin Hunger Strike

Leo Timm
By Leo Timm
January 26, 2017News

Around two hundred migrants from the crowd stranded for months in derelict warehouses in central Belgrade on Wednesday (January 25) refused to take food handed out by international organisations in protest at sealed EU borders.
Protesters jeered and even tried to prevent others, who stood in a line for lunch, from taking it. Those who did want to eat, however, did get their styrofoam plates from helpers distributing them from a van trailer.

Lunch, a vegetable soup without meat, is the only warm meal available daily to everyone enduring a bitterly cold spell in the complex comprising a handful of abandoned, windowless and partly roofless buildings adjacent to the main train station.

The protesting migrants say they hope to draw attention to their plight and force EU countries to open their borders and let them in.

Many of the people at the warehouses say that they tried to continue their trip toward wealthy EU countries such as Germany, Austria or Italy, but that Hungarian and Croatian police rounded them up on their side of the border and pushed them back.

Balkan countries closed their borders to migrants in March 2016, after more than 1 million passed from Turkey, to Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary or Croatia. People continued trickling into Serbia, but few managed to continue, creating a backlog of as many as 9,000 in the country which has room for no more than 6,800 in already overflowing reception centres.


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