In Greece, alarm is rising that the twin crises of financial meltdown and soaring illegal immigration are creating the conditions for a right-wing rise – and the recent massacre in Norway drove authorities to beef up security. The move comes amid spiraling social unrest that has unleashed waves of rioting and vigilante thuggery on the streets of Athens.
The UN’s refugee agency warns that some Athens neighbourhoods have become zones where “fascist groups have established an odd lawless regime.”
Greek police said they have increased security checks at Muslim prayer houses and other immigrant sites in response to the Norway shooting rampage that claimed 77 lives. “There has been an increase in monitoring at these sites since the events occurred in Norway,” said police spokesman Thanassis Kokkalakis.
The xenophobic rage exploded in May, when youths rampaged through a heavily immigrant neighborhood in broad daylight, knifing and beating foreigners. The attacks left at least 25 people hospitalized with stab wounds or severe beatings. Athens has since suffered a spate of hate attacks by far-rightists.