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Migrants protest Greek wave of racist attacks September 21, 2012

Posted by Yilan in Pakistan, Yunanistan.
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Thousands of immigrants to Greece, mainly from Pakistan gather at Athens central Syntagma square in front of the Greek Parliament on August 24, 2012, during their protest rally against the recent violent attacks on immigrants by ultra nationalist groups and the police operations in order to arrest undocumented immigrants. (AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki)

Thousands of immigrants to Greece, mainly from Pakistan gather at Athens central Syntagma square in front of the Greek Parliament on August 24, 2012, during their protest rally against the recent violent attacks on immigrants by ultra nationalist groups and the police operations in order to arrest undocumented immigrants. (AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki)

 

 

Over 3,000 immigrants flocked to the center of Athens to protest the wave of xenophobic attacks sweeping Greece. Racist violence has seen a marked increase in the wake of the financial crisis, with NGOs condemning police indifference to the attacks.

Thousands of protesters marched on the Greek parliament in Athens in one of the largest anti-racist rallies the capital has ever seen. They carried banners emblazoned with the slogans “No Islamophobia” and “Neo Nazis out!”

Some protesters brandished banners implicating Greek far-right party Golden Dawn, which has been accused of inciting xenophobia and racial violence.

Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris attacked the Greek government for allowing the rally to take place.

“The constitution protects gatherings of Greeks and not of foreigners,” he said in a statement.

The protests follow a countrywide police crackdown on illegal immigration in Greece. The Greek government provoked immigrant ire after rounding up hundreds of undocumented immigrants in the town of Corinth and holding them in a nearby military camp. The move sparked protests from residents and local authorities, rallying against the creation of a detention center in the town.

“We will do everything possible to prevent such a disaster,” Corinth’s mayor Alexandros Pnevmatikos told Skai TV. “We don’t want the camp, which is in the center of the city close to densely-populated neighborhoods, to become a holding center.”

Pnevmatikos threatened to cut the camp’s water supply and rubbish disposal if the 350 migrants held there were not released.

Far right supporters of Golden Dawn clashed with police outside the army camp on Thursday and hurled bottles at a deputy who had come to visit the camp.

The nationwide campaign to curtail illegal immigration has been dubbed “Xenios Zeus” after the ancient Greek god of guests and travelers. The Greek authorities have thus far arrested thousands of illegal immigrants.

 

Police turn blind eye to racial violence

Greece’s minister for public order announced on Thursday that a special unit would be created within the Greek police to combat the “phenomenon of racist violence.” The move came after several rights groups criticized Greece for its failure to curb the rise in xenophobic attacks.

Human Rights Watch released a report last month condemning Greek police for their failure to act of cases of racial violence.

“Migrants and asylum seekers spoke to Human Rights Watch of virtual no-go areas in Athens after dark because of fear of attacks by often black-clad groups of Greeks intent on violence,” said the report.

The document also implies collusion between Golden Dawn and local police forces in connection with the attacks.

The extremist party denies any connection to the racial attacks sweeping Greece.

Last month Golden Dawn spokesperson Ilias Kasidiaris said that immigration was a government conspiracy to turn Greece into “a wretched protectorate inhabited by subhumans, with no conscience, with no country, with no national culture.”

One of the party’s solutions to immigration is to mine areas along the Greek border where high concentrations of immigrants cross into the country.

Golden Dawn currently has 18 seats out of 300 in the Greek parliament and has seen a rise in popularity in the wake of an increase in unemployment and crime levels.

AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki
AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki
Police officers stand guard as thousands of immigrants living in Greece, mainly from Pakistan, rally at Athens central Syntagma square on August 24, 2012, to protest against recent racist attacks and police operation to evict undocumented immigrants. (AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki)
Police officers stand guard as thousands of immigrants living in Greece, mainly from Pakistan, rally at Athens central Syntagma square on August 24, 2012, to protest against recent racist attacks and police operation to evict undocumented immigrants. (AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki)
AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki
AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki
AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki
AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki
Reuters/John Kolesidis
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Immigration Reform: The Xenophobic Crisis in Greece September 7, 2012

Posted by Yilan in Human rights abuses, Yunanistan.
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immigration, reform, the, xenophobic, crisis, in, greece, \\Immigration Reform The Xenophobic Crisis in Greece

Illegal immigrants are tearing apart the social fabric of Greek society. They’ve been blamed for the spike in crimes and the cause of Greece’s economic woes. At least this is the narrative that’s repeated by the far-right and accepted by most Greeks.

With no end in sight of the economic crisis and punishing austerity measures, Greeks are feeling the squeeze. This week’s meeting with Germany and France to discuss the terms for the third round of bailouts will without a doubt renew class tensions between locals and immigrants.

At the same time, Golden Dawn, a far-right political group notorious for its hateful and xenophobic rhetoric, has blamed illegal immigrants. Their success in winning 18 seats in June’s parliamentary elections demonstrates at least some level of their views resonating with the masses. This group creates a hostile environment complete with its swastika-like logo and ran on the platform slogan, “Greece for Greeks.” There has been some demonstrations against Golden Dawn, but the scapegoating of illegal immigrants have been somewhat accepted by the masses.

Illegal immigrants make up 10% of the Greek population, and locals view this problem as a scourge. Efforts are being made to demonstrate that Greece is serious about deporting illegal immigrants and tightening its borders.

Several human-rights NGO’s have denounced Greece for violating international law in its mass raids of immigrants without making any efforts to check the legal status of the migrants. Furthermore, it was reported on Saturday that Greek police were accused of dumping hundreds of illegal immigrants in the middle of the night in neighboring Macedonia. Locals have grown weary of immigrants and multi-culturalism in general. Certainly the economy has played a part. In a Human Rights Watch report, an Athens resident expressed, “I was never a racist but I’ve become one. Why can’t we send them all home?”

Yet illegal immigrants without papers, work, or a place to live are finding their stay in Greece to be very unwelcoming. In past five-months, it’s been estimated that 500 people were the victims of racially-motivated attacks. The typical m.o. of these attacks are similar in nature: they typically occur late at night, involving a gang of thugs, wielding weapons such as sticks, iron bars and wooden bats. Their intention is to induce fear in their victims. Instances of attacks at home by Golden Dawn members have been reported in the media. Keep in mind that this is in the same network of white supremacist groups that Wisconsin shooter Sikh shooter Wade Michael Pagewas a member of.

In August duirng Operation Xenios Zeus (ironically, the god of hospitality), approximately 6,000 migrants were rounded up and detained in Athens resulting in 1,500 people being deported for illegal entry. It seemed the only criteria for being detained was being guilty of having a dark complexion or looking “foreign.” The “success” of this event prompted officials to plan similar raids to other cities in Greece. Six detention centers are already in the works to house the increasing numbers of illegal immigrants.

The rise of the far-right has been accelerating for the past ten years says Jamie Bartlett of UK think tank, Demos. It’s a trend that’s seen all across Europe.  Cultural and national identity remains a  sensitive issue.

The problem that mainstream political parties in Greece face is that they aren’t able to combat the rise of the far-left/right because they’re trying to retain party support, so they’re powerless to change the situation, which leads to greater conflict between an increasingly polarized left-right political spectrum.

The above picture is one taken in a Greek train station of police waiting for an arriving train as part of the raid on illegal immigrants.This YouTube video details the same.

 

Greek immigration office damaged by bomb blast March 24, 2010

Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Yunanistan.
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A home-made bomb exploded outside a building housing immigration offices in Athens Saturday causing some damage but no one was hurt, police said.

Police cordoned off the area after an anonymous caller warned a newspaper and a television network of the explosion which damaged a fence around the building in the Petrou Ralli district, a bus shelter and nearby shop windows.

The device had been deposited in a bag near the shelter.

Earlier Saturday, a bomb exploded outside the home of a Pakistani community leader in Athens without injuring anyone.

Anonymous warnings made by telephone to a Greek television station and a newspaper 15 minutes before the explosion also enabled police to seal off the area.

Media reports said the bomb targeted the home of the chairman of the Greek-Pakistan friendship association.

The Pakistani community in Greece numbers several thousand members, most of whom live in the greater Athens area.

Muslim migrants in Greece have faced increasing hostility from far-right militants in recent years, and the Pakistani community has frequently denounced attacks on its members by Greek youths.

Saturday’s first bombing occurred in the central Athens district of Agios Panteleimonas which has a strong immigrant presence and where protests both in favour and against foreigners have been held in recent months.

Last month a gang of mostly teenagers set fire to a house in Sparta, southern Greece as a group of Bangladeshi migrants slept inside.

In May, five Bangladeshi migrants were injured after unknown assailants tried to burn down a makeshift mosque in Athens.

Greece has no licensed mosques except in a northeastern region near the border with Turkey where a Greek Muslim minority of Turkish origin lives.

Thousands of Muslims immigrants elsewhere in the country use rented flats and warehouses for their prayers.