World

Syrian refugees start hunger strike outside Greek parliament

  • Syrian protesters are camped outside parliament in central Athens, on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. About 150 Syrian civil war refugees started a hunger strike Monday, urging Greece's government to grant them full refugee status. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    Syrian protesters are camped outside parliament in central Athens, on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. About 150 Syrian civil war refugees started a hunger strike Monday, urging Greece's government to grant them full refugee status. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Syrian protester sits with her mouth taped shut, during a protest outside parliament in central Athens, on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. About 150 Syrian civil war refugees started a hunger strike Monday, urging Greece's government to grant them full refugee status. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    A Syrian protester sits with her mouth taped shut, during a protest outside parliament in central Athens, on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. About 150 Syrian civil war refugees started a hunger strike Monday, urging Greece's government to grant them full refugee status. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

  • Syrian protesters sit with their mouths taped shut, during a protest outside parliament in central Athens, on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. About 150 Syrian civil war refugees started a hunger strike Monday, urging Greece's government to grant them full refugee status. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    Syrian protesters sit with their mouths taped shut, during a protest outside parliament in central Athens, on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. About 150 Syrian civil war refugees started a hunger strike Monday, urging Greece's government to grant them full refugee status. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

About 150 Syrian civil war refugees have begun a hunger strike in front of Greece's Parliament, urging the government to grant them temporary working and residence rights.

The hunger strike started Monday, after protesters began gathering last week at Athens' main Syntagma Square, complaining that refugees are being forced to pay exorbitant black-market rates to live in squalid apartments in Athens.

The hunger strikers said they were only eating sugar. Several dozen of them sat on the sidewalk with strips of box tape covering their mouths.

Greece is a busy entry point for immigrants and refugees seeking entry to the European Union. The financial crisis-hit country has seen a spike in the number of Syrians crossing by boat illegally from nearby Turkey.