Iranian asylum-seekers sew mouths shut in protest

Migrants fleeing Iran have begun to take extreme measures by sewing their lips together and going on hunger strikes in protest of the precarious international situation in which they’ve been placed. Stuck at the border between Greece and Macedonia, hundreds of asylum seekers are now confined as Macedonia has limited passage to only those fleeing what they consider “conflict”. Desperate Iranians have taken to protesting after being denied entry into Macedonia from Greece due to a new system by which these countries enable migrant movement. This system put in place by several European nations blocks the passage of “economic migrants”.

(Reuters_Ognen Teofilovski)

About six men, some of whom appear to be of Iran’s Kurdish minority, sewed their mouths shut and scrawled sentiments such as “Just freedom” on their foreheads and chests, and sat down on railway tracks in front of riot police.

Since the Paris Attacks on November 13th, hundreds of migrants have been protesting Europe’s heightened border controls which have left those migrants deemed “economic migrants” essentially unable to seek refuge.

(Reuters_Yannis Behrakis)

Stranded Iranian migrant Hamid, 34, an electrical engineer from the Iranian town of Sanandij.

The straights are dire for these migrants who’re now unable to continue their journey. Vice reporter Oscar Webb spoke to an Iranian migrant seeking asylum named Milad: “We will stay here,” Milad told Webb, “we will die here if necessary”.

Originally published at on November 28, 2015.