Athens University Law School to be evacuated peacefully by protesting illegal migrants

17:08, January 28, 2011      

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Immigrants carrying their belongings leave the Law University in Athens, Jan. 27, 2011. A group of some 300 illegal immigrants agreed on Thursday to leave the university building, which had been occupied since Sunday, after being threatened with removal by force. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

A protest of approximately 300 illegal migrants who had occupied a section of the Athens University Law School since Jan. 24, demanding legal residence status in Greece, was due to end peacefully early Friday.

Around midnight local hour, the immigrants who stage a hunger strike since Tuesday, and the Left activists who support them, agreed with the authorities for their transfer to another building in the centre of Athens.

Under strict security measures, escorted by police, university professors, Left-wing politicians and activists, the immigrants prepared to move.

The Greek government had repeatedly stated to seek a solution to the issue, avoiding the use of force by police. Anti riot police had deployed around the Law School on Thursday afternoon, fuelling rumors of an imminent raid and fears of violent clashes with Left as well as far-Right groups.

The university is off limits to police under the Greek law and police can enter only after a formal request by university authorities and the prosecutor due to a severe crime. On Thursday afternoon, university authorities had formally requested the lifting of the asylum.

The illegal immigrants and Left activists claim that the protest was organized to draw attention to the problem of illegal migration to Greece.

The Greek socialist government criticized them of abusing the asylum, stressing that Greece can not afford to legalize thousands of people who enter the country illegally every year.

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