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Spaniards, Greeks rally in support of refugees

19 December 2015 13:58


People in Spain and Greece have held demonstrations to express their solidarity with refugees, most of whom are fleeing conflict-hit zones in the Middle East and Africa to Europe.

Hundreds of people poured onto the streets of the Spanish capital, Madrid, in support of refugees, marking the Global Day of Action against Racism.

Shouting “No human being is illegal,” the protesters marched on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the banner, “We are all migrants and refugees, we all have rights.”

Chanting slogans against military interventions and NATO, the demonstrators called on the Spanish government and the EU to open their borders.

They also urged the government to close detention centers for asylum seekers, end the EU’s border control agency Frontex and suspend agreements with countries that do not respect human rights.

Elsewhere, thousands of people took to the streets of the Greek capital city of Athens on Friday to voice their support for refugees.

The protesters, among them refugees as well as members of various left-wing and anti-racist groups, marched on Athens’ Syntagma Square and the offices of the European Commission in the Greek capital, chanting slogans such as “Open the borders.”

Denmark to seize valuables from refugees

In a relevant development, the Danish government defended its latest proposals, under which police will be empowered to search asylum seekers’ luggage for valuables and cash.

In a message posted on his Facebook page, Danish Integration Minister Inger Stojberg said, “I can see that some foreign media are pouring scorn over (the fact) that we in the future may withdraw asylum-seekers’ valuables and demand that they should pay for their stay in asylum centers themselves.”

Under the proposals, which are expected to be debated in the parliament in January, cash amounts over DKK 3,000 (USD 436) will be confiscated, while items of personal significance such as mobile phones will be exempt from the seizure.

European countries reportedly remain divided over how to deal with asylum seekers as the continent is grappling with its worst refugee crisis since World War II.

Many blame major European powers for the unprecedented exodus, saying their policies have led to a surge in terrorism and war in those regions, forcing more people out of their homes.

According to the recent figures released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), over 956,450 refugees have reached Europe’s shores so far this year, while more than 3,690 people have either died or gone missing in their perilous journey to the continent.

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