Spain: Podemos lawmakers hold hunger strike for refugees

April 22, 2016

Four lawmakers from Spain's far-left Podemos party and its allies are participating in a week-long hunger strike to try to rally public support for refugees.

The lawmakers began their hunger strike on April 16 and called on people to occupy public squares for 24 hours on April 22, the day their actions end. The hunger strike is a gesture of support for those people at the center of Europe's biggest migrant crisis since World War II.

Twenty-four hour assemblies were planned for a dozens cities on April 22.

The idea stems "from the shame we felt over the agreement between the European Union and Turkey, seeing how Europe violates international law," Podemos lawmaker Pedro Arrojo told AFP.

Arrojo said he hoped to transform public indignation over the plight of migrants "into action".

"We have seen that initiatives are starting to bloom. There is a parish that is collecting shoes for refugees," said Arrojo who represents to northeastern city of Zaragoza for Podemos.

Miguel Anxo Fernan Vello, a lawmaker with regional Galician party En Marea, which is allied to Podemos, said he was taking part in the hunger strike because he was angered that Spain has welcomed only a handful of refugees since the migrant crisis started.

Spain's conservative government agreed last year to accept around 16,000 refugees from Greece and Italy but so far only 18 have arrived. "This is not a failure, this is simply atrocious," he told AFP.

Over 178,000 people have risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean so far this year, and 737 have died or gone missing while making the perilous journey to Europe, according to the International Organization for Migration.

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]

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