The government reacted to Wednesday’s attack on migrant farm workers in the Ilia region in the Peloponnese by their employers calling it an “unprecedented and devastating” incident.
“The injuries suffered by protesting farm workers in Manolada are being condemned in the most absolute manner by the entirety of Greek society,” government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said in a statement Thursday.
“This unprecedented and devastating act is alien to Greek morals and the reaction of the authorities will be swift and proper,” he said.
Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias issued a separate statement condemning the attack.
“Respect for the law is a fundamental obligation for all of us, but also a necessary condition for the country’s economic revival,” he added while criticizing cases of economic exploitation.
Most political parties issued statements condemning the Manolada shootings.
The incident occurred when some 200 workers allegedly demanded six months’ worth of unpaid wages from their employer. The pickers became involved in an argument with three Greek supervisors, at least one of whom fired at the migrants with a shotgun.
Local reports said that as many as 30 Bangladeshi workers were injured in the incident, with several of them said to be in a critical condition on Wednesday night.
Two men have been arrested by the police so far. Authorities were reportedly looking for two more suspects.
Manolada has been at the center of cases involving violence against migrant workers a number of times in recent years. Last year, two Greek men were arrested for beating a 30-year-old Egyptian, jamming his head in the window of a car door and dragging him for around one kilometer.
In 2008, migrants working on farms in New Manolada, known for its strawberries, went on a four-day strike to protest poverty wages and squalid living conditions.
Several activists have called on consumers at home and abroad to boycott Manolada strawberries. A social media campaign was launched on Twitter under #bloodstrawberries.