Brutal attack on Pakistani migrant workers sparks outrage in Greece

Ashfak Mahmoud was hospitalised and is currently recovering [Nikos Libertas for Al Jazeera]

A violent attack on two Pakistani migrant workers last week in Athens has sparked large protests across Greece.

The attack occurred when two Pakistani nationals, Vaqas Hussein and Ashfak Mahmoud, were surrounded and violently attacked by a group of five armed men with knuckle-dusters and other blunt-edged weapons.

Mr Hussein and Mr Mahmoud were both working at a local farm, near the industrial zone of Aspropyrgos in Athens.

Mr Mahmoud told reporters, “They said they would burn me alive”.

Both men were hospitalised but are expected to make a full recovery.

This attack is the latest in a string of hate crimes in Greece against migrant workers and refugees in Greece.

Greek police estimate that there have been around 75 racially motivated attacks in the past six months.

However, activists and community leaders claim that the number is much higher.

President of Pakistani in the Greece Community Union, Javed Aslam, stated that at least 80 hate crimes have taken place since May 2017 alone.

According to Mr Aslam, “the victims know the attackers, but the police never arrested them before. Our message is that the police needs to do their job correctly. These men were attacked many times, but now we are standing together, and we have to stop them.”

The political party “Syriza” condemned the recent attack, saying that it adds “to a series of violent and racist attacks in the region. Photographs of the victims are revealing the horrific face of fascism that sows terror in Aspropyrgos.”

The chairwoman of PASOK and the head of the Democratic Coalition, Fofo Gunnamatta, said that “the images of the blooded immigrants in Aspropyrgos are shocking to us all.”

The Greek Communist Party denounced the act as “the new assassination attempt by the Golden Dawn Nazi criminals against immigrant workers in the Aspropyrgos area.”

Most of Greece’s political leaders have blamed the country’s far-right nationalist party, the “Golden Dawn” for inspiring the recent hate crimes.

However, the Golden Dawn has described these accusations as “slanderous attacks”.

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