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Society

Hate Crimes Said Surging in Greece, Golden Dawn Blamed

May 1, 2019

While the ultra-extreme right Golden Dawn has been keeping a low profile with all 15 of its lawmakers in the fourth year of a trial on charges of running a criminal gang, it is said behind a reported rise in hate crimes in Greece.

The Turkish news site TRT World said a human rights group pointed to a 14 percent increase in hate crimes and giving anecdotes of migrants and others being attacked.

One of them, Pakistani Gulbaz Mohammed, said he was assaulted last year in the neighborhood of Peristeri, a western Athens area, with four men attacking and yelling, “Go back to Pakistan,” and continuing a vicious beating.

After the assault, Mohammed began changing up his route home each evening, hoping to avoid any additional attacks. “If I see groups of young men, I walk the other way,” he told TRT World.

The Athens-based Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN) said in its annual report that between 2017-18, the number of hate crimes grew from 102 to 117, while the number of attacks targeting refugees and migrants more than doubled.

Of last year’s total, at least 74 incidents included attacks on refugees and migrants, 27 targeted members of the LGBT community, 10 were motivated by religion, and six included Greek citizens who were attacked owing to their skin color, ethnicity, or national origin.

“The support base for violent acts against refugees and migrants is expanding,” states the report, adding that many of the incidents the RVRN documented appeared to be “organised attacks” or carried out by “organized groups” that “proudly state they are infused with extreme xenophobic ideologies”.

“The increase in racist violence and hate speech is also attributed to the resurge[nce] of nationalist populism, which played a decisive role in the diffusion and normalisation of extreme messages of intolerance,” the report added.

Although a Greek police spokesperson did not reply to TRT’s request for a comment, the police have released their own hate crimes statistics for 2018 showing 226 incidents, 152 targeting refugees and migrants; nearly one-in-four involving Pakistani nationals.

There was no explanation why it’s believed Golden Dawn followers were behind last year’s crimes as the group’s leaders have been largely out of sight during the trial they aren’t attending and rarely speak out anymore although polls show it consistently runs third with elections coming.

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