Syrian refugees in Uruguay stage sit-in to press demand for return
Updated: 2015-09-08 13:39
Members of five Syrian refugee families who arrived to Uruguay on October 9, 2014 demonstrate at the Independencia square in Montevideo, Sept 7, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
MONTEVIDEO - Five Syrian families given refuge by Uruguay staged a sit-in Monday, asking to return to Lebanon, their former host country.
The families left Lebanon in October 2014 to come to the South American nation, where they say "they have no future", the Uruguayan News Agency (UyPress) reported.
The families, 42 people in all, were camped out with their luggage and other belongings at the central Independence Plaza facing government headquarters, complaining about the high costs of living, low wages and inability to secure visas to travel.
The Syrians arrived under an outreach initiative of then President Jose Mujica. They were to be followed by seven more refugee families from the Middle East, with a total of 116 people.
According to UyPress, the five families were to meet with President Tabare Vazquez later in the day.
Presidential spokesman Juan Andres Roballo met with a delegation of the refugees and told them the United Nations would decide in two days' time whether they could return, the daily El Observador reported.
Ibrahim Al Mohammad, one of the refugees, told UyPress that his 11,000-peso ($383.6) salary working at a hospital was not enough to cover expenses for him, his wife and three children.