US Embassy in Athens updated its safety and security information on Friday raising the awareness of US citizens of African, Asian, Hispanic or Middle Eastern descent. The American diplomatic mission explained the update with ‘unprovoked harassment and violent attacks against person perceived as foreign migrants.’
US Embassy Excerpt:
“Security Message 16. Nov 2012
The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that the “Threats To Safety and Security” section of the Greece Country Specific Information page has been updated to inform U.S. citizens of a rise in unprovoked harassment and violent attacks against persons who, because of their complexion, are perceived to be foreign migrants. U.S. citizens most at risk are those of African, Asian, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern descent in Athens and other major cities. Please review the Country Specific Information for Greece.
We encourage all U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans; remain aware of their surroundings, including local events; monitor local news stations for updates; and report specific incidences of targeted violence to the U.S. Embassy in Athens or the U. S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki at the numbers below. U.S. citizens should maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance their personal security. For additional information, please refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad.” (Full Text here)
Furthermore the US-Embassy warned American citizens of the protest rally on Saturday, November 17, gave telephones numbers, where its citizens can report cases of racist attack.
Prompt was the answer by Greek Foreign Ministry with spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras issuing a statement saying:
“Greece is and remain a safe country. It is a state of law where every citizen or visitor enjoys the protection of law. The isolated incidents of racist violence are foreign to Greeks, to our culture and the long tradition of Greek hospitality.
The state and the Ministry of Citizen Protection follow a policy of zero tolerance to such phenomena and takes all necessary measures to prevent and combat such behaviour that we categorically condemn.” (FM statement)