Racism is on the rise in Greece, NGO network finds

Racially motivated attacks increased in Greece last year, according to the Racist Violence Recording Network, a collection of 30 nongovernmental organizations including the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

According to the network’s annual report, which was made public on Wednesday, a total of 166 racially motivated attacks were recorded last year, up from 154 in 2012. The 166 attacks left at least 320 people injured, the report said, noting that 143 of the cases concerned immigrants or asylum seekers while almost all the other victims had been targeted because of their sexuality.

The racist incident that caused the largest number of injuries in 2013, according to the report, was an attack last April on migrant laborers on a strawberry farm in Nea Manolada, in the Peloponnese, who were shot at by their supervisors for demanding unpaid wages.

Assaults attributed to members or supporters of the neofascist Golden Dawn were also highlighted as a concern. But the head of the president of the network, Costis Papaioannou, said the spike in racism was a complex phenomenon.

“Golden Dawn does not have the monopoly on racist violence,” he said. “It has many forms.”