Greece's Minister of Public Order has announced a special police department is to be established to deal with racist violence. Its creation is in response to complaints by human rights organizations that racist attacks in Greece are on the rise.
Human Rights Watch (HMW) recently issued a report claiming that xenophobic violence is on the rise in Greece and attacks against foreign migrants are often ignored by the Greek police. HRW called on the Greek government to create a plan to combat racism, including special police training. In response to this Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias has announced a special department within the Directorate of State Security Police is to be established, to deal with the "phenomena of racist violence." (To Vima)
The concerted effort to deal with racist attacks will run in conjunction with the continuation of operation "Xenios Zeus" which aims to tackle the pressing issue of illegal immigration. Dendias expressed his committment to continue with the drive against illegal immigration whilst stating the government has the political will to address racism.
In conjunction with Operation "Xenios Zeus" the government sent an additional 1,800 guards to patrol the Evros border where approximately 300 illegals enter into Greece on a daily basis. Since the guards were established numbers of illegal entrants have fallen, though there has been an increase in people trafficking to the Greek islands from Turkey.
Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris said Greece has become the "garbage dump of Europe" in relation to illegal immigration. Xpyshavgi cites what it terms "ideological propaganda terrorizing" those opposed to immigration, referring to the continual claims that all attacks against migrants are racist whilst migrant attacks against Greeks continue unaddressed.
Ekathimerini reported that the Pakastini community in Greece is due to stage a protest against racist violence in Athens on Friday. On Sunday the Muslim population of Athens was given permission to use the Olympic stadium to conduct special EID prayers. The occasion passed without any violence, though the Pakastini community had objected in advance to Greek citizens, or any members of Golden Dawn, being present in the vicinity.
HMW is concerned about the rise of Golden Dawn in Greece. The far-right party gained seven percent of the vote in June elections and is now represented by 18 members of parliament. It is apparent that in the face of rising crime support for the party has increased since the election. Golden Dawn categorically denies that it is behind any of the attacks against migrants; indeed many attacks that have been described as racist are later shown to have been committed within ethnic migrant groups.
Golden Dawn also highlights the crime and racism perpetrated towards Greeks by migrants which rarely achieve press attention. The party reiterated its committment today towards criminals being dealth with through the justice system, as it stressed that there is racism in Greece, but it is against the Greeks.
Mr Dendias did not give figures regarding the number of officers who will be deployed into the new special department to deal with racist violence.