Protesting asylum-seekers stopped at Polish border

16th December 2009, Comments 0 comments

Around 200 Chechen and Georgian asylum-seekers were travelling to Strasbourg to lodge a complaint about conditions in Poland's refugee hostels and asylum application procedures.

Warsaw – Around 200 Chechen and Georgian asylum-seekers were stranded in a train on Poland's border with Germany for several hours after a failed attempt to head westwards in a human rights protest, authorities said Tuesday.

The group, which included women and children, had been aiming to reach the eastern French city of Strasbourg, home of the Council of Europe, the continent's rights watchdog, Poland's border officials said.

"They can't cross the border because they don't have the necessary paperwork" to go any farther west, border service spokeswoman Anna Galon told AFP.

After being denied permission to cross, they refused to leave the train, which had been bound for Dresden in eastern Germany.

As a result, the train remained stuck in the Polish city of Zgorzelec, which lies just across a river from its German counterpart, Goerlitz.

They finally got off after lengthy discussions with the police and were taken by bus to a reception centre in the area, according to TVN24 footage.

Galon said that under the terms of their asylum applications, the group members were bound to remain on Polish soil.

According to border guards, the protestors are unhappy with conditions in Poland's refugee hostels and asylum application procedures and therefore sought to take their protest to Strasbourg.

Polish media reported that they did not have tickets for their trip.

AFP / Expatica

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