Fears of new wave of racist violence

Fears of new wave of racist violence

A brutal attack on two migrant workers near the industrial zone of Aspropyrgos, west of Athens, on Saturday, has fueled fears among rights groups of a new wave of systematic assaults by far-right extremists similar to those carried out by members of neo-Nazi Golden Dawn after the party entered Parliament in 2012.

The two workers, identified as Pakistani nationals Asfak Mahmud and Vakas Hussein, were working on a farm in Gorytsa, near Aspropyrgos, on Saturday when they were surrounded and brutally beaten by five men who shouted racist slurs at them. The assailants used knuckledusters, rocks and a knife, while also threatening to burn the two laborers alive, according to the victims’ accounts.

In comments to the News247 website, the president of the Pakistani Community in Greece, Javed Aslam, said the perpetrators were known to their victims as right-wing extremists who had taken issue with Mahmud’s involvement in rallies protesting numerous incidents of racially motivated violence directed at migrant workers in the area over the past few years.

Dozens of Golden Dawn members, including the party’s leadership, are currently on trial over the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas in 2013, as well as several attacks on communist-affiliated activists and migrant laborers.

At a press conference Monday, the head of the KEERFA anti-racist, anti-fascist movement, Petros Constantinou, said Mahmud was targeted because he belongs to a group of migrant laborers lobbying against violent attacks following assaults on foreign workers in the area in February and April.

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