Two Pakistani immigrants were savagely beaten in an apparent racist attack by a gang in Nikaia, a southern suburb of Athens, on Wednesday.
The incident became publicly known on Friday when a video of the attack was shown on major Greek TV networks.
According to the Pakistani immigrants, a group of about 15 people attacked them as they were walking in a central square of the suburb.
“They hit me a lot, they punched me as if they were boxing. I fell down and they started kicking,” said Amir, one of the victims of the racist attack, who was rushed to the hospital suffering from facial and body injuries.
“I was also beaten with a bottle of beer. An ambulance came and took me to the hospital. Blood was everywhere”, added Amir.
Coordinated attack against Pakistani immigrants
In what is seen as coordinated attack, two of the three immigrants managed to escape. But the group chased them to their home. They stormed the building and attacked injuring another Pakistani.
In the video the attackers are seen throwing stones at the building and are heard shouting obscenities against the victims.
Dimitris Zotos, a lawyer representing the victims said that the attackers are well-known in the neighborhood. He added that fingerprints could identify them.
Racist attacks against migrants and asylum seekers in Greece reached their peak during the height of the refugee crisis in the mid- to late 2010s. Several of these attacks were carried out by groups affiliated to the neo-fascist Golden Dawn Party whose leadership is now in prison.
Golden Dawn rose to prominence during Greece’s financial crisis of 2009, becoming the third most popular party in the Greek parliament in 2012. Its support has since plunged, and it failed to enter parliament in the 2019 election. The criminal trial against the leaders, frequently described as the largest Nazi trial since Nuremberg, lasted more than five years.
Attacks against immigrants in Greece
A report by the Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN) organization published in April 2020, said that the Network recorded an increase in incidents of racist violence against refugees, migrants but also human rights defenders who were targeted due to their affiliation with the above-mentioned groups.
In 2019, the incidents against these groups were 51, while in 2020 they amounted to 74. The periodic intensification of these incidents is inextricably linked to the institutional targeting of refugees, migrants, and supporters.
At the same time, the restriction of movement for refugees in public spaces, in the context of measures adopted against the pandemic, combined with reduced flows, seems to contribute to the “invisibility” of the specific target group and to the reduction of recorded incidents against them, the Group said.