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Syrians starts hunger strike in Athens

Refugees demand working and residence rights

More than 200 Syrian civil war refugees started a hunger strike in front of Greece's parliament on Monday, urging the government to grant them temporary working and residence rights.

The protesters began gathering last week in Athens's main square, complaining that refugees were being forced to pay exorbitant black-market rates to live in squalid flats in Athens.

"People are living in bad conditions. We get temporary travel documents but we can't go anywhere.

"We can't work or go to hospital or rent a place to live," said Khaldoon Fadel, a 31-year-old former resident of Damascus, who joined the hunger strike.

The hunger-strikers said they were only eating sugar.

Several dozen of them sat on the pavement with strips of tape covering their mouths.

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