Pilot scheme records racist attacks in Athens

A pilot scheme to record violent attacks on immigrants in central Athens has recorded 63 such incidents over a period of three months.

The scheme, which ran between October and December last year, found that 51 of the 63 attacks involved groups of assailants rather than one person on their own. In 18 cases, the attackers were identified as members of far-right organization and in another 18 cases victims alleged they were attacked by policemen.

A total of 43 victims suffered injuries, 10 of them had to be hospitalized.

The scheme was set up by Greece?s human rights committee (EEDA), the UNHCR and more than a dozen non-governmental organizations.

They called on the government to set up an official process to monitor racist attacks, claiming that migrants are often afraid to report incidents or are deterred by the 100-euro fee they have to pay to file charges.

The incidents were recorded in the downtown areas of Aghios Panteleimonas, Omonia and Attikis Square. These areas have proved fertile ground for the extreme-right Chrysi Avgi party, which is trying to enter Parliament at the upcoming elections.

Elderly residents of these areas have expressed concern about their safety due to the high crime rate. In some cases, neighborhood schemes have been set up to provide escorts for pensioners who want to leave their homes to run errands or go shopping.

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