Extremists hijack protest over migrants

A demonstration yesterday in Aghios Panteleimonas, near central Athens, by residents objecting to the large increase in the local immigrant population, was hijacked by far-right protesters and anarchists who clashed with each other for several hours. Members of the far-right and anti-establishment groups pelted each other with stones and vandalized local store facades and parked cars, as locals tried to voice their grievances. There were no reports of injuries or arrests. According to witnesses, half the protesters were calling for the neighborhood to be «protected» from an influx of migrants while the others appealed for migrants to be given greater social support. Most residents expressed sympathy for migrants’ problems but said the situation had reached a crisis point. «There are many migrants here who need help and though we give them food and clothes we cannot solve their problem,» local cleric Prokopios told Kathimerini. Other residents said the state should receive more European Union support for dealing with immigrants. «The EU has earmarked a lot of funding in support of migrants – where does all this money go?» said Eleni Papayiannaki, a local resident and store owner.