Farm foremen arrested over shooting of migrant workers in Greece

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 19, 2013 9:09 AM
Farm foremen arrested over shooting of migrant workers in Greece

ATHENS (Reuters) - Police on Friday arrested three foremen at a Greek strawberry farm on suspicion that they shot and wounded more than 20 migrant farmers who were protesting over unpaid wages.

The incident on Wednesday was the latest attack on foreign workers in crisis-hit Greece and has prompted a public outcry.

The three men face charges of attempted murder for opening fire at a crowd of about 200 mostly Bangladeshi immigrants in the southwestern town of Manolada. None of the victims was seriously injured.

The suspects, all Greeks aged 21, 27 and 31, had been on the run since the incident on Wednesday, a police official said. The farm owner was arrested on Thursday.

They will appear before a public prosecutor later on Friday. One of them has already been charged for attacking an immigrant in the past and his trial is pending, the official said.

The shooting caused an outcry in Greece, which has seen repeated attacks on immigrants lately as the fiercely anti-immigrant, ultra-nationalist "Golden Dawn" party rises in prominence.

Political parties expressed outrage at the incident and Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias rushed to Manolada on Friday to denounce the attack.

"What happened here is not just illegal but also inhuman," he said.

Anti-foreigner sentiment has been rising in Greece, where more than one in four workers is out of a job after five years of recession and austerity.

Greece is a gateway for mostly Asian and African migrants trying to enter the European Union through its sea and land borders.

The Manolada immigrants said they were ill-treated and owed months of wages. Their salary was 22 euros ($28.70) a day.

Most of the immigrants who find work in Greece are employed illegally. Foreigners account for more than 40 percent of Greece's unregistered workers.

($1 = 0.7668 euros)

(Reporting Angeliki Koutantou, editing by Harry Papachristou and Angus MacSwan)