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Afghan hunger strikers taken to hospital

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14:40 CEST+02:00
Nine Afghan citizen were taken to hospital on Tuesday evening on the fourth day of an ongoing hunger strike in central Stockholm. None of the men were reported to be in a serious condition and all have now been released from hospital.

Seven protesters - one of whom was unconscious - were removed from Sergels Torg in central Stockholm at 7pm. Two others initially refused to leave but were later taken to Karolinska hospital, Dagens Nyheter reports.

Temperatures soared on Saturday to coincide with the beginning of their protest and the weather in the capital has remained warm since. As the protesters refused to consume any liquids, their condition soon deteriorated.

"They were in a bad way when they were brought in. Some were beginning to drift towards unconsciousness.

"Their blood sugar levers were very low but they made a quick recovery after they had been given a drip," hospital spokeswoman Ulrica Franzén told The Local.

On July 27th a group of Afghan asylum seekers embarked on an march from the Migration Board's headquarters in Norrköping before arriving in Stockholm on August 1st. A few days later a number of the protesters began their hunger strike at Sergels Torg.

"The protest concerns the fact that between 400 and 600 Afghanis living who have lived in Sweden for four to five years - most of whom with permanent jobs - have had their applications to remain in Sweden turned down.

"We oppose hunger strikes but around 15 people, all of whom are to be deported, decided to go on hunger strike," Nasim Sahar, vice chairman of the Swedish Afghan Association, told Dagens Nyheter.

The various protest actions have been organized in response to a recent Migration Board decision allowing for the deportation of Afghani asylum seekers.

In May the board set a new precedent when it ruled that a man from Kabul should not have his temporary residence permit renewed. The Migration Board based its verdict on information received from the Swedish and British governments as well as the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) regarding the security situation in Afghanistan.

According to UNHCR, Sweden is currently home to 6,904 Afghans, of whom 5,810 have refugee status, 594 are asylum seekers and 500 have had their asylum claims rejected.

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