Greece battles wave of racist crime

Greece’s public order minister said Sunday that police were grappling with a wave of racism-fuelled crimes, but insisted that wiping out illegal immigration was a matter of “national survival”.

As Greece struggles with a fifth year of recession, a crippling economic crisis and harsh austerity measures, the country has recorded a rise in social tensions and racist attacks, prompting international concern.

Racist violence is a “new phenomenon,” the minister Nikos Dendias told Kathimerini newspaper in an interview published Sunday.

“For the police, this ‘field’ is terra incognita. Racist crime is a complex issue,” he said.

In mid-August, a young Iraqi was knived to death in Athens by five men in a hate attack after a police sweep to clear the capital of illegal immigrants.

Police have arrested thousands of undocumented immigrants in a series of sweeps, sparking protests by human rights groups.


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