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Growing anti-migrant violence in Greece

06-21-2012 00:31 BJT

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Greek neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn has warned that it's now a force to be reckoned with after winning 18 Parliamentary seats in Sunday's elections. During the elections, Golden Dawn's candidates were involved in a number of high profile assaults during the elections, many of them on immigrants. CCTV correspondent Richard Bestic reports on how the growing anti-migrant violence may be linked to the country’s economic crisis.

Greece is the Gateway into the European Union. Every year nearly a million attempt the perilous journey in a bid to escape war and poverty. Their crossings have a variety of different and dangerous means, by sea in tiny and entirely unsuitable boats, these images filmed by the UN. And the travel by land is over the porous borders mainly from Turkey.

And across the River Evros which divides Northern Greece from Turkey almost 300 attempt the journey every day. Not all make it and casualties are high. If successful, the grim nature of this terrible spectacle is little improved. A life of genuine deprivation awaits the estimated one million migrants living illegally inside Greece.

For those with families, there's the prospect of life in austere containment camps. As the numbers rise and Greece suffers the fallout from financial crisis, the immigrants now find themselves on the receiving end of increased incidents of violent attack.

Kety Kehayioglou, UN Refugees High Commission, said, "The rise started in 2006,2005 when people couldn't find jobs. Actually, migrants used to take jobs that Greeks didn't want, but now because of the rise of unemployment, some people are stigmatized."

The new Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras put the issue at the centre of his election campaign, promising to end what he called the invasion of illegal immigrants and demanded a European policy to tackle the issue. The government view is that it's the scale of illegal immigration rather than the financial crisis to blame for a rise in violence.

Eleftherios Economou, Minister for Citizen Protection, said, "These attacks are not related directly to the financial crisis. It's more that Greece accepts 80 to 90 per cent of the total of illegal migrants en route to Europe."

Editor:Bai Yang |Source: CNTV.CN

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