Berlin, Sep 7 (efe-epa).- German activists on Monday set out 13,000 empty chairs outside the Reichstag in Berlin calling for the evacuation of refugees stuck in the Greek camp of Moria.
The protest also criticized the European Union’s handling of the situation and Germany’s perceived lack of leadership.
“The situation in Moria is catastrophic. It was already before the summer. Now, there is the fear that Covid-19 will spread through the overcrowded camps,” Claudia Roth, former leader of the Green Party, and vice-president of the Bundestag, the lower chamber of German lawmaking, said.
Tareq Alaows from the NGO Seebrücke added: “13,000 refugees are crammed into Moria without access to water.”
The NGOs Sea-Watch, LeaveNoOneBehind and Campact were also involved in the demonstration.
Dozens of volunteers laid out the thousands of black and white seats from 7am local time and the finished spectacle was meant to represent the “sufficient space” for the refugees to come to Germany.
In a conversation with Efe on the sidelines of the event, Roth said: “(Angela) Merkel’s government relies on the fact that there will be no unilateral decision, but rather it needs to find a European consensus. But it knows perfectly well that that is not feasible, given that several members reject and will reject the notion of taking in refugees.”
Germany provided a beacon of hope for tens of thousands of refugees fleeing war and instability at the height of the so-called migrant crisis in 2015. At the time, Merkel opened the borders to asylum seekers and adopted the slogan “we can manage this.”
Germany, the most-populated country in the EU, received around one million asylum seekers that year.
Roth said that the spirit of the slogan is needed to deal with the inhumane conditions at Moria.
“What I saw in Moria isn’t comparable to other refugee camps.”
Between July and August Germany processed the arrival of 425 refugees while another 920 are expected in the coming weeks.
The majority of those arriving from the camps are unaccompanied minors and sick children.EFE-EPA