The ongoing crisis in Greece has led to a considerable rise in racist attacks across the country and to a substantial rise in support for the extreme right Golden Dawn party. In an effort to defend himself against such attacks one man is fighting back according to a news report aired on Britain’s Channel 4 on Tuesday evening.
According to the report, Michael Chege and a group of friends have set up a brigade, dubbed the “Black Panthers,” to patrol their neighborhood at night. The move came after several encounters with Golden Dawn members.
“I am a member of the Black Panthers and everybody knows that. So I am giving them [Golden Dawn] a straight warning – don’t mess with black people, anyhow. And I mean it,” said Chege speaking to Channel 4 reporter Jamal Osman.
Chege left his native Kenya when he was eight months old and after living in Greece for 28 years he says he is still treated as a new immigrant. As the only black kid at school he had to fight hard to earn respect and took up martial arts when he was seven.
While he says it is unfortunate to be a “stranger in your own land,” Chege, now a father, does not wish for his children to suffer the same abuse he has and hopes to move his family to Kenya.
In the meantime the Black Panthers use mobile phones and social media to alert each other in case of an attack.
“It has turned our lives better, at least in our neighborhood,” he said.