Tripoli, 10 June 2012:
Twelve Libyans were arrested in the Greek capital Athens on Thursday after they occupied the Libyan school. The men, . . .[restrict]who are being treated in Greece for injuries sustained during last year’s revolution, were protesting over the non-payment for the past two months of funds by the Libyan embassy for their living costs and treatment.
Mohammed Al-Athram, whose five-year old son is at the school, told Libya Herald that children and teachers alike had been terrified and fled the building. He himself had gone to the school and remonstratd with the men, telling them that whatever their grievences they had not right to use the school to stage their protest. He then became the interpreter when the Greek police arrived. He said he tried to explain the situation and intercede for the 12 but the police arrested them.
The school attack was the latest in a series of protests by Libyans in Greece over money payments by the embassy.
Last Sunday evening, 30 Libyans being treated in Greece broke into the embassy and occupied it in protest at the non-payment of funds. There was only one person in the building at the time whom they took hostage. On Monday morning, Libyans diplomats arrived and attempted to negotiate with the occupiers but when that failed they called in the police who arrested all 30 men. They were subsequently released as the embassy refused to press charges against them.
Then on Tuesday, 20 Libyans went to the Libyan health care office in the city, which is linked to the embassy, to protest about the payments. They also protested over their claims that their visas were out of date and that no one was doing anything about it. They say that the issue should have been dealt with by the hospitals where they were being treated but because the hospital bills had not been paid, staff were not dealing with the matter.
The men were arrested but then released when embassy staff arrived and explained the situation.
The 12 arrested on Thursday are still in custody.
The Libya Herald contacted Greek officials but they could not give any further information. [/restrict]