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04/18/2013

Bangladeshi farm workers shot during pay protest in Greece

Greece
Bangladeshi worker Mohamed, 25, is seen inside his tent in the southwestern Greek town of Manolada on Thursday, following a shooting incident on Wednesday. (Giorgos Moutafis/Reuters)

Austerity-fueled violence and race woes continue in Greece.

On the heels of the European Council's stinging report on the rise of violence against migrants in Greece, on Wednesday 29 Bangladeshi labourers protesting over not being paid, were allegedly shot and injured by plantation foremen in the rural south, Associated Press is reporting.

The Greek newspaper Ekathimerini reported on Thursday two suspects have been arrested and another two are being sought.

Greek authorities are promising swift action against the suspects. The farm is located about 260 kilometres outside of Athens.

The shootings, none apparently life threatening, occured during a protest by 200 Bangladeshi workers. The protesters say they have not been paid in nearly six months.

AP said a Greek government spokesperson, Simos Kedikoglou, has condemned the violence as "inhuman, unprecedented and shameful."

And, justice minister Antonis Roupakiotis concurred, saying: "The barbarous attack ... conjures up images of a slavery-based South that have no place in our country."

Ekathimerini reports that Manolada, the area of Greece where the shootings took place, has previously experienced violence against migrant workers.

The paper reported last year, two Greek men were arrested for attacking an Egyptian, 30, by trapping his head in a car window and dragging him for about one kilometre.

The European financial crisis has hit Greece hard. The country has battled a recession and severely high unemployment, causing a rising homeless problem, and, violent social unrest.

On Tuesday, I reported that Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, released a scathing report, imploring the Greek government to take urgent action to stop the rise of hate crimes in Greece being directed at migrants.

And, on Thursday, the American Journal of Public Health, released a study done by Greek and American researchers that illustrated the harmful health impacts of austerity measures in Greece.

They found reduced public health services since the austerity cuts have had disastrous effects. Between 2007 and 2009, suicide and homicide mortality rates among men jumped from 22.7 per cent to 27.6 per cent, they noted in a release. Meanwhile, substance abuse, infectious disease and mental disorders are all reportedly on the rise.

Tanya Talaga is the Star's global economics reporter. She was recently in Cyprus covering the financial crisis. Follow her on Twitter @tanyatalaga

 


 


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