City mur­der fu­els racial ten­sion

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Hun­dreds of pro­test­ers con­verged yes­ter­day at the spot on Triti Septemvriou Street near cen­tral Athens where a 44-year-old man was fa­tally stabbed on Tues­day but the gather­ing was quickly hi­jacked by far-right­ists who ap­pear con­vinced that im­mi­grants were be­hind the at­tack.

Mean­while po­lice were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the fa­tal stab­bing in the same area of a 21-year-old Bangladeshi man. Po­lice said the man was stabbed early yes­ter­day in a neigh­bor­hood with a large mi­grant pop­u­la­tion and bur­geon­ing far-right pres­ence but they did not say that the at­tack was racially mo­ti­vated.

In the af­ter­noon, sus­pected mem­bers of ex­tremeright or­ga­ni­za­tions chased groups of im­mi­grants down side streets and threw Molo­tov cock­tails at po­lice of­fi­cers when they ar­rived to dis­perse them.

More than 12 peo­ple were in­jured in the clashes, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

Far-right­ists had also con­verged in the area on Tues­day, a few hours af­ter the fa­tal stab­bing of the 44-year-old man who had been pre­par­ing to take his preg­nant wife to hos­pi­tal when he was at­tacked by as­sailants who stole his video cam­era. Al­though there has been no of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment about the eth­nic ori­gin of the at­tack­ers, the pro­test­ers chanted anti-im­mi­grant slo­gans such as “For­eign­ers out” and “Greece is for Greeks.” In a writ­ten state­ment is­sued on Wed­nes­day, Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou con­demned the mur­der of the 44-year-old and de­clared that mea­sures would be her­alded next week to im­prove safety for city dwellers. “We are de­ter­mined to guar­an­tee the safety of cit­i­zens and to take all the nec­es­sary mea­sures,” the premier said.

Athens Mayor Gior­gos Kami­nis was more out­spo­ken in com­ments made on Skai Tele­vi­sion yes­ter­day, ex­press­ing his fear that Athens would soon re­sem­ble Beirut in the 1970s if im­me­di­ate ac­tion is not taken to crack down on spi­ral­ing crime.

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