As a hunger strike protesting Greece’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for healthcare workers entered its 17th day, one suspended healthcare worker yesterday told a crowd of protesters in Athens, “we don’t need vaccine passports to be free.”
Speaking outside the Greek parliament building, Zoe Vagiopoulou, one of the hunger strikers, delivered a speech that made waves on Greek social media.
“We have been on hunger strike for 17 days for the right to work. Work is a right that nobody can deny us. We are 7,500 families [referring to the number of healthcare workers who remain suspended] outside of the public health system, which our parents and grandparents have paid into but which we are excluded from due to permanent decisions in violation of the law and constitutional order.”
Vagiopoulou is one of five Greek healthcare workers who joined a hunger strike on March 21 to protest their suspension and the ongoing COVID-related restrictions.
The hunger strike represents an unprecedented new phase of protests against COVID-related mandates and restrictions.
Perhaps the closest equivalent is the hunger strike launched in September 2021 in Nice, France, by two hospital workers—Christophe Nait, an emergency care assistant, and Thierry Paysant, a fire safety officer—in protest of France’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.