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Anti-migrant attacks surge in Greece's Piraeus

Anti-migrant attacks surge in Greece's Piraeus
From Al Jazeera - January 5, 2018

Athens, Greece - Racist attacks targeting the homes of migrant workers have surged in Piraeus, a port city near the Greek capital, since Christmas, according to an anti-racist activist group.

More than 30 homes where migrant labourers - most of whom are Pakistani nationals - reside have been targeted since December 25, the anti-racist group Keerfa said on Friday.

Petros Constantinou, Keerfa's national director, said the sharp uptick in violence comes amid a 40-day period of attacks on migrant homes in the area.

"It's been happening at least three times per week," he told Al Jazeera. "They are targeting homes where it is obvious migrants are living."

The incidents have taken place primarily in Renti and Nikaia, two neighbourhoods in Piraeus with large immigrant populations.

Constantinou said anti-Muslim slogans had also been spray-painted on the entrances and walls of several homes. "These appear to be organised attacks," he said, explaining that the assailants were swiftly picked up by getaway cars after the incidents concluded.

He added that similar attacks have taken place to a lesser degree in nearby neighbourhoods in recent weeks.

"It seems that the attack squads of Golden Dawn are coming back and teaching new members how to attack migrants," Constantinou argued, referring to the Greek neo-fascist party that currently has 16 seats in the national parliament.

Javed Aslam, president of the Pakistani Community in Greece organisation, explained that the attackers broke the glass of windows in several homes while shouting xenophobic comments.

"They are saying 'you are dirty, leave our country' while they do it," he told Al Jazeera.

Noting that no one has been injured yet in the recent spate of attacks, Aslam warned nonetheless: "It looks like the fascists are preparing for more violent attacks [on migrants]."

While Aslam said it is still uncertain who the assailants were, he also suspects that they are members of Golden Dawn.

"Who else could be behind these attacks?"

History of violence

In an ostensibly unrelated statement published on Friday, the Golden Dawn said that "Islam is incapable of coexisting with western culture".

"If Europe, and even more obviously Greece, does not realise the complete failure of the 'political integration' of the illegal Muslim immigration to Europe and Greece which overwhelms uswe will soon be lead into enormous problems, [including] wars in our own cities," the Greek-language statement proclaimed.

In past years, Golden Dawn members orchestrated attacks on migrants, refugees and political opponents in areas across the country.

In January 2013, a pair of men linked to Golden Dawn killed Shahzad Luqman, a 26-year-old Pakistani who was on his way to work while he was fatally stabbed.

'Go back to your village. Leave.'

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