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Racist shop owner who pushed with her foot a Roma girl sentenced

Justice after four years. The woman who pushed away with her foot an accordion playing Roma girl was finally sentenced by a court in Athens.

Dimitris Messinis, the photographer who shot the picture in September 2013 , and made the arrogant abuse public, posted on his Facebook account, that the shop owner was finally convicted.

“After several postponements and delays, the woman was sentenced to three months imprisonment on suspension,” the retired Associated Press photographer wrote. “There are times that I am really proud of my vocation,” he added.

The incident took place on Dionisiou Aeropagitoy Street, the road that leads to Acropolis, on September 17th 2013. The camera captures the woman to push away the little girl. She is holding a fancy women’s magazine and uses her foot to push away the young accordion player. The girl is around 7 or 8 years old, the woman is the owner of a shop selling souvenirs to tourists.

The girl is stunned, the tourists who watch the scene as well.

“Don’t give her money,” the woman urges the tourists.

Greece Street Musician

Messinis captures the incredible moment with his camera. He also starts a quarrel with the woman and sharply lashes out at her and her behavior.

“Get out of here, mister,” the woman tells him and adds as if to justify the racist  abuse “the girl does not issue receipts.”

The racist voice apparently whispered to the abuser that tax evaders of six or seven years old have to be pushed away, like a piece of dirt or an annoying fly because they bring Greece into economic collapse.

The picture goes viral, the prosecutor intervenes, the issue is being even debated also in the Greek Parliament.

There is a public outrage about the racist behavior, and some point out that it is primarily the shop owners who are notorious tax evaders as they do not issue receipts.

After four years, finally justice: the woman who claimed to defend the states policy to combat tax evasion get convicted. She did not appear in court.

Shop owners are often annoyed when beggars or street music players stand in front of their stores, claiming that they scare off customers.

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  1. The Roma kids can be real pests when they’re hassling for money in the supermarket car parks here in Patra, but this kid in the photo is busking – a fine old tradition seen all over the world – and so is disturbing nobody. She certainly doesn’t deserve the appalling behaviour meted out by the shop owner. Receipts? What street musician ever gave receipts?

    Now if she’d kicked some of those ‘musicians’ who come and stand at your restaurant table playing music you don’t want to listen to until you pay them to go away, I probably would have applauded.

  2. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    The position of Greek Roma in Greece has always been that of excluded and hated residents, who were not even allowed citizenship and voting rights until recently. Some of them are migrants from Thraki who came to Athens to escape the poverty of the Minority in northern Greece — and lost what few rights they had in Thraki. Others are the descendants of old migration from the Indian subcontinent, and have been in Ottoman territory for many centuries. Across Eastern Europe they are treated worse than animals, and hated by the populations.

    So, this is nothing to do with tax evasion: it is pure racial hatred. And the woman who engaged in it should not have been given a suspended sentence: this is the usual Greek courts’ nonsense of pretending to punish while doing nothing. The useless Greek justice system — which does manage to punish immigrants and Roma quite severely, usually imprisoning them for years before trial.

  3. Hecataeus Miletuss

    Unfortunately, there is a perception that Roma perpetrate crime in Greece. While there are cases that this is true, it’s unfair to paint a whole group of people with such a broad stroke. Just last night, two Roma teenagers happily chatting holding their souvlakia they had bought approached the kiosk I was getting some snacks for my daughter and me, and they politely asked me if they could get get by me, and they bought coca-colas and paid and left. To be honest, this is more the interaction I’ve had with Roma in Athens, and not the scaremongering of crime. But, like with the US (my origin) where some will accuse African-Americans of crime, I believe it’s what you are specifically looking for. If you look for boogeyman’s wearing Roma clothing, you will find them. But, I will also end this by saying that for whatever reason, my perception surrounding Greek people is positive and I’ve never felt afraid in Greece like my USA walking a dark street at night.

  4. People should go into her shop and push the woman around with their foot all the while telling the tourists in her shop: “Don’t give her money.”

  5. It’s a shame the guilty woman was only given a suspened sentence.
    I think a role reversal with Roma girl for a few weeks might have been an appropriate punishment and instill some long lasting sense of humanity.