Migrants see rise in racist attacks

Representatives of immigrant groups in Athens have told Kathimerini in the wake of an Egyptian man being seriously beaten by a group of assailants that there has been a spike in the number of attacks on foreigners following the May 6 election, when neo-Nazi Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) vastly increased its share of the vote.

?Things have got worse since the elections,? Reza Gholami, the head of an association of Afghans, told Kathimerini. ?There are daily beatings. These guys don?t just want to frighten people, they are hitting to kill. They are hitting on the head, a lot of people are attacking at the same time. Most incidents are not known because immigrants do not notify authorities. They are afraid for their lives or don?t have legal papers or lack the funds to pay the cost of a lawsuit.?

Another immigrant, who wished to remain anonymous, described how attacks take place in the Aghios Panteleimonas district of Athens, where he lives.

?The attacks are carried out by gangs, either on motorbikes or on foot,? he said. ?If there is a witness, the attackers start shouting that the victim is a thief.?

An Egyptian fisherman was severely beaten at his home in Perama, near Piraeus, early on Tuesday. A group of assailants entered the house and while three migrants were able to escape their attackers, the 28-year-old was unable to run away and suffered a broken jaw and nose, as well as other injuries, in the attack. Six suspects, including an 18-year-old woman, were arrested later.

Sources close to the victim told Kathimerini that unidentified individuals approached other Egyptians in the area later in the day and warned them that they would suffer reprisals if anyone testified against the suspects.

A Golden Dawn official told Kathimerini that he did not know if the suspects were members of the far-right party.

In a report on Tuesday, the Guardian newspaper quoted Golden Dawn candidate Ilias Panagiotaros as saying, ?If Chrysi Avgi gets into Parliament, it will carry out raids on hospitals and kindergartens and it will throw immigrants and their children out on the street so that Greeks can take their place.?

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