Racist Attacks Increase: Iraqi Stabbed to Death in Athens

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A 19-year-old Iraqi immigrant died in the hospital after he was stabbed with knives by five unknown assailants riding on motorcycles. The attack took place late Saturday night in the centre of Athens. The assailants had earlier targeted two other foreigners, one from Romania and one from Morocco who managed to escape.

Greek police is looking for five people riding four motorcycles. The testimonies of the Romanian and the Moroccan, who were attacked in the same area, could not give clues about the assailants.

Attacks on immigrants by assailants on motorcycles revived last week, after a Pakistani was arrested for having severely injured and sexually abused a 15-year-old girl on the island of Paros at the end of July.

Attacks against Immigrants – August 7-13/2012: 

  • A bloody incident occurred in Heraklion, Crete. A group of young men attacked a group of Pakistanis. Police detained a Greek on charges he had hit an illegal immigrants with an iron stick.
  •  A man from Bangaldesh complained to police that two people on motorcycles had hurled smoke bombs at his home yard, in Heraklion.
  • Four unknown assailants attacked a group of immigrants from India waiting at a bus stop. The incident occurred in Rethymnon, Crete.
  • Two Pakistanis were attacked and injured in the home they were living in Vonitsa/Preveza.
  • A group of 15-20 people attacked a place of worship in Piraeus where 20 Pakistanis were praying. The attackers threw smoke bombs and attempted to harm the foreigners. The Pakistanis blamed extreme-right Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) for the attack, but the party dismissed such claims on its official website.

However, on the following day, GD-MP Ilias Kasidiaris told state broadcaster NET, that the Constitution allows only Greeks to participate in open gatherings and expressed his party opposition that stadiums are given to immigrants in order to pray.

According to Association of Migrant Workers, more than 500 immigrants have been injured and taken to the hospitals after been attacked with iron-bars, ironfists and knives during the last six months.

The arrest of the Pakistani assaulter from Paros on August 2nd was followed by a broad-scale police operation in the centre of Athens with the aim to remove illegal immigrants from the downtown of the Greek capital and crack down illegal immigration. Within ten days the police had detained 6,690 and arrested 1,555  illegal immigrants.  They were taken to several immigrants camps and some have been already deported to their home countries. 

The police operation ordered by the Ministry of Citizen Protection could be seen as an action to symbolically prevent retaliation by racists groups after the arrest of the Pakistani.

Xenios Zeus: Police squads welcome illegal immigrants (Any similarity with WWII pictures is pure coincidence)

During the last years the centre of Athens was ‘delivered’ to criminals, junkies and illegal immigrants with the effect that many Athenians – residents and shop owners – had abandoned the area unable to cope with the lack of security and increasing crime. With the peak of the economic crisis voices were getting louder and louder for a sweeping action in the city centre. Nevertheless, it was the exactly the lack of security and the high influx of immigrants that took Chrysi Avgi to the Greek parliament.

Heraklion/Crete: Immigrants protests racist attacks and speak of “pogroms” against them.

As the government considers that the sweeping action is enough to control the flow of  immigrants, it blames extremists wanting to undermine the governments’ efforts to deal with illegal immigration. “It was natural, that since the government changed the agenda with the sweeping operation, that some extremists try to cancel it with invasions of hate”, a government official told daily TA NEA.

Minister of Citizen Protection Nikos Dendias announced that “the state will be ruthless to all perpetrators of criminal acts”, and ordered the police to find the assailants of the young Iraqi.

“The state will be relentless toward all those who commit crimes, regardless of their pretext,» said the minister, adding that the authorities will launch an investigation in order to bring the culprits to justice as soon as possible.

Whether the sweeping operation was on ground to prevent retaliation attacks by extremists or not, fact is that the political will to take illegal immigration under control had to have an innocent victim: a teenager girl, still in coma after more than two weeks after the attack in Paros.

Video by Greek police: Aug 9/2012 Athens Train station Stathmos Larissis – Train arriving from north-eastern borders full with illegla immigrants

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The government has called the sweeping operation “Xenios Zeus” (Philoxenos/Hospites Zeus) maybe in an unprecedented mind-blowing inspiration. The ancient father of all gods,  Zeus was the patron of hospitality and guests, ready to avenge any wrong done to a stranger.

Human rights groups have called on Greece to stop the Xenios Zeus operation, arguing that its stop-and-search policy is discriminatory and that it will fuel further attacks on migrants.

However Grek police is satisfied with the results of Xenios Zeus.

“Authorities said the number of migrants entering Greece via the country’s Evros border with Turkey has fallen dramatically. According to figures released by the police, 447 undocumented migrants were caught crossing into Greece illegally on August 2, before the Xenios Zeus operation began, but on Wednesday and Thursday this week that figure had fallen to 12 and 15 respectively.” (kathimerini)

On the other hand, it looks as if not all aspiring immigrants or human traffickers got notice of the decisiveness of the Greek government. Or exactly the opposite , on a second reading:

In the early morning hours of Monday, a FRONTEX marine unit located a boat carrying 58 illegal immigrants and the two Greek boat owners. The boat was located in the Ionian Sea, south of Paxoi island. Most likely the immigrants were leaving Greece for Italy.