Groups warn of spike in homophobic attacks

A spike in attacks against men and women perceived to be gay by suspected members of ultra-right organizations has prompted the reaction of rights groups.

?Immigrants and refugees are the new Jews of Greece today, but they are not alone. Gays, members of the Roma community and other groups are included,? said a statement issued by the Network for Recording Incidents of Racist Violence. The network, which last month called for action to combat an increase in attacks on immigrants in Greece, is now monitoring a rising wave of homophobia. In its statement it noted that a homophobic rant by ultra-right Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panayiotaras last month during a protest against the staging of a controversial Passion play in central Athens had not led to any action. Panayiotaros had shouted ?Wrap it up you little faggots? at people he apparently perceived to be gay and ?Your time is coming.? The statement by the network followed an attack by suspected extreme rightists on Saturday against members of the anti-fascist committee of the central neighborhoods of Kerameikos and Metaxourgeio who rallied against the increase in homophobic attacks.

In summer, gay and lesbian groups compiled a leaflet that is still in circulation offering advice to homosexuals to show caution in public, particularly when they are alone and in dark and abandoned streets.

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