The Greek government denounced attacks on immigrant laborers in the Ilia region, where 28 migrant workers at a strawberry farm were shot because they demanded payment. The laborers, who hail from Bangladesh, had not been paid despite six months of work. According to local media, there were no fatal injuries among them.
Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said in a statement on April 17, “The injuries suffered by protesting farm workers in Manolada (Ilia) are being condemned in the most absolute manner by the entirety of Greek society.” He added, “This unprecedented and devastating act is alien to Greek morals and the reaction of the authorities will be swift and proper.”
In a separate statement, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias condemned the attack. "Respect for the law is a fundamental obligation for all of us, but also a necessary condition for the country's economic revival," said Dendias while he also criticized economic exploitation of workers. Most Greek political parties issued statements condemning the Manolada shootings.
New Manolada is a town in Greece’s southern Peloponnese peninsula.
According to Kathemerini, an Athens daily, farm owners there have a history of abusing migrant workers. According to ilialive.gr, representatives of farm owner informed the migrant workers that they were not to be paid but demanded them to return to work. When the strawberry pickers became involved in an argument with the three Greek supervisors, one of the supervisors opened fire and injured 28 of the migrant workers.
Police had arrested the farm owner was arrested but the three supervisors were at large. However, police claim to know the identity of the man who opened fire. According to Kathimerini, the town of Manolada has been at the center of cases involving violence against migrant workers in recent years. Last year, two Greek men were arrested there for beating a 30-year-old Egyptian, jamming his head in the window of a car door and dragging him for nearly a mile. In 2008, workers on farms in New Manolada went on a four-day strike to protest against the low wages and the poor living conditions. Enet reported that several thousand migrant workers (reportedly undocumented) are employed there on strawberry farms.
Observers are concerned that attacks on foreigners are becoming increasingly frequent. A nationalist political party known as New Dawn has made immigration a focus of its attention. New Dawn has been labelled ‘fascist’ ,’xenophobic’, ‘racist’, and ‘neo-nazi’, by critics even though the party disputes these characterizations. The party currently holds 18 seats in the Greek parliament.
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