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Czech Republic: Detainees condemn attacks in Paris and end hunger strike

16.11.2015 20:14
The former prison at Drahonice, Czech Republic, which in 2015 served as a detention facility for asylum-seekers. (Photo:  YouTube.com)
The former prison at Drahonice, Czech Republic, which in 2015 served as a detention facility for asylum-seekers. (Photo: YouTube.com)

Refugees in the detention facility in Drahonice (Louny district) have condemned the terrorist attacks in Paris. They have reportedly ended their hunger strike to show respect for the suffering of Europeans.

The refugees' statement was provided to the Czech News Agency by Marie Heřmanová, a spokesperson for the volunteers working with the refugees. They began their hunger strike last Tuesday over concerns that 40 refugees, most of them Iraqi, will be deported.

"We, the refugees held in the detention facility in Drahonice, strongly condemn the criminal and cowardly act perpetrated by this criminal group that calls itself the Islamic State," says the migrants' statement, which also expresses condolences for the victims of the attack. The statement also expresses the hope that the injured will heal quickly.

"We, too, have been terrorized by the crimes of that same group in our countries, and that is the reason we have fled to peace and safety in countries of democracy and freedom," the statement reads. "We are also announcing the end of our hunger strike out of consideration for the families of the victims and the wounded and out of respect for their pain."

Only nine people did not attend the evening meal at the facility on Saturday and lunch today was skipped by only one of the refugees, which is not unusual, Kateřina Rendlová, the spokesperson for the Aliens' Police, told the Czech News Agency today, adding that she considers the hunger strike over. Reportedly all was calm there this morning.

"In the 10 years I have been working as the spokesperson for the Aliens' Police, I cannot recall a case of anyone going on hunger strike long enough to end up in hospital. When they ascertain that it's not the way to achieve their aims, they give up," she said.

Rendlová said people in detention facilities frequently use hunger strikes as a form of protest. "It's of no avail, though," she said.

The spokesperson said problems have not been reported from any other detention facilities in the Czech Republic. Everything is reportedly calm in them.

After Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris, which claimed the lives of 129 victims, the Aliens Police beefed up its patrols around the detention facilities for foreign nationals. Police officers are guarding the external fencing of the refugee facilities even more intensively.

"Everywhere is calm, we have not had any problems," Rendlová said. The detention facility in Drahonice was created on the grounds of a former prison, has capacity for 240 people, and is designated for men only.

The spokesperson said there are currently 92 people in the facility. "They are not just refugees," she noted, adding that there are also, for example, Belarussians and Ukrainians in Drahonice whom the Aliens Police have repeatedly arrested on Czech territory for working under the table.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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France, hladovka, refugee, Terorismus



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