Around 150 people, including asylum seekers and pro-migrant activists, called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to “open the doors” and allow more migrants from Greece to come to Germany.
The protest occurred this week outside the German embassy in Athens and focused mostly on family reunification. Fourteen asylum seekers, mostly from Syria, attended the protest with some of them claiming that they had been waiting to reunite with their families in Germany for over a year, Die Welt reports.
Protestors called on the German and Greek governments to allow the migrants to travel to Germany claiming that the six-month wait time had already long since passed. One 33-year-old Syrian said, “We have all the necessary papers, but we’ve been waiting for over a year,” while another claimed that she had been waiting 19 months.
A similar protest also took place in Berlin outside the Federal Ministry of the Interior building. Around 40 individuals, mostly migrant men, held up signs saying: “Borders Destroy Families”, “Freedom of Movement”, and “I Want My Family”. Berlin police secured the event and did not report any incidents.
Some charities, like Amnesty International, claim that close to 60,000 migrants live in poor conditions in Greece. The Greek government has previously expressed that it does not have the resources to care for the number of migrants who have filled up asylum centres on islands in the Aegean.
Pro-migrant NGOs have called on the Greek government to allow migrants on the islands of Lesbos, Chios, and others to be allowed to travel to the mainland in order to get better housing.
The issue of migrant family reunifications has also been a major contention between the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the German Green party who are currently stalling on coalition negotiation talks. Some allies of the chancellor have argued that she should make concessions on the issue in order to prevent a snap election which could lead to a “disaster” for her party.