Refugees In Greece Protest Outside German Embassy
Syrian refugees protesting against what they called a slow and restrictive re-unification process between Athens and Berlin demonstrated outside the German embassy in Athens on Wednesday (August 2), and blocked a main street in the city, causing traffic pile-ups.
The refugees, most of which have siblings or spouses already in Germany, demanded the families be re-united, holding placards reading, "I want my family". Tourists on a tour bus stuck in the pile-up took photographs as the protesters shouted, "No more waiting!" One protester held a placard resembling a boarding pass from Athens to Frankfurt.
Forty-one year old mother, Malak Rahmoun, in Greece for almost two years with her three daughters, while her husband and son are already in Germany, applied for reunification last year. She said she has already lost years of her life from the war in Syria, and every year that goes by is another delay for her family to start normal lives. She said she sometimes thinks of attempting the journey illegally, but it is too expensive.
Syrian refugee Mahmoud Bitar, who has now been living in Sweden for more than two years after travelling illegally from Greece, said he came back to assist the refugees after understanding their frustration.
More than 60,000 refugees and migrants are stuck in Greece since border closures in the Balkans halted the onward journey to central and Western Europe, facing a slow reunification and relocation process.