Over 300 refugees and immigrants have moved into City Plaza, an abandoned seven-story hotel in the city center, after activists moved in and took it over. More than 50,000 asylum-seekers have reached Greece in recent months and due to the closure of the Balkan Route, are unable to continue their journeys towards Western European countries like Germany and Sweden.
Numerous camps have been established throughout Greece, where conditions vary. The worst camps suffer from overcrowding, food shortages, insufficient shelter and hygiene issues. But for a select group of refugees who found shelter at the City Plaza Hotel in Athens, life is decidedly different.
Established by a solidarity group as a squat, the hotel is clean and comfortable. Cooking and cleaning is shared by immigrants and volunteers, and healthy meals are prepared three times a day.
There are thousands of empty buildings in Athens that could be used by immigrants or by victims of the economic crisis, explained a spokesperson for the group.
Nasim Lomani, an activist who immigrated decades ago from Afghanistan explained, "We want to create an example for the Greek government on how to accommodate refugees."