Greece: 98 migrant hunger strikers hospitalized

A Greek migrant support network says a third of the 240 North Africans on hunger strike in Athens to demand residence permits have been hospitalized with severe health problems.

Doctor Thanassis Karabelis said by late Wednesday _ after 37 days of refusing food _ 81 of the men had been taken to hospital. Another 17 required hospital treatment in the northern city of Thessaloniki, where 50 of the men are fasting.

All suffered from kidney, heart or other health problems.

The Socialist government has repeatedly refused to accept the strikers’ demands, saying they entered the country illegally and granting them legal status would encourage other such protests.

Debt-crippled Greece is the main gateway into the European Union for tens of thousands of illegal immigrants.

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