Racist attack: Hundreds demonstrate in Athens over murder of Pakistani worker

Police arrest two suspects for the murder of a 27-year-old Pakistani migrant in athens, in an alleged racist crime.


Reuters/afp January 19, 2013
Immigrants raise their arms in front of a banner depicting a late Pakistani immigrant during an anti-racism rally in Athens January 19, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

ATHENS: Hundreds of people poured onto Athenian streets on Saturday, but this was not a rally against the government's austerity measures and rising unemployment. Rather, migrant workers mostly from Pakistan participated, protesting against a rising trend of racism and fascism that they are facing from Greeks.

The extent of racism is believed to have precipitated in the murder of a Pakistani migrant worker earlier this week.

Shehzad Luqman, 27, a Pakistani migrant worker was stabbed to death by two men on a motorcycle as he rode his bicycle to work in an Athens suburb in the early hours of Wednesday. Police believe that the attack may have been racially motivated.

"Perhaps his murder will bring hope that these attacks will stop. We are protesting for the government to take measures to stop racist attacks," Javied Aslam, head of the Pakistani Community organisation told Reuters, as about 300 Pakistani immigrants gathered outside city hall with the coffin.

Earlier this week, police arrested a 29-year-old firefighter and another man, 25, for Luqman's murder.

A police official told Reuters earlier this week that both suspects had admitted to stabbing Luqman in the chest following a drunken argument.

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Protesters hold a banner during an anti-racism rally in Athens January 19, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

About 3,000 immigrants and human rights activists later gathered in the city's central Omonia square to demonstrate against racism, holding banners reading "Neo-Nazis out" and "Punishment for the fascist murderers of Shehzad Luqman".

"I have been the victim of a racist attack and when I tried to complain about it I was arrested. Police are the same as Nazis," 35-year-old Gildas Batola from Congo told AFP at the rally organised by groups including municipalities, migrant communities and the radical left main opposition party Syriza.

Protesters carried banners reading: "Fascism never again", "End to racist attacks" -- also a gay flag was thrown into the mix.

International human rights groups have warned of a surge in xenophobic attacks on migrants in Greece, where economic hardship and a sixth year of recession have fuelled the rise of the far-right.

Amnesty International said Luqman's killing was not an isolated incident but showed a "continuing failure" of the Greek authorities to take action to put an end to racist violence.

COMMENTS (28)

usmanyy | 8 years ago | Reply yoghurt should be banned from ET. He is a troll. plain and simple.
bigsaf | 8 years ago | Reply @Munna: @European Desi: Illegal immigration is a problem for any nation state. Yes, Pakistanis should realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side, despite the horrible local situation. It does not justify such racial hatred and murder. Many of Greece's problems has to do with many issues, everything from debt to tax evasion. Targeting illegal immigrants like this, who do indeed contribute to an economy under hardship despite the lack of regulations, is a usual convenient prejudiced scapegoat tactic. If there needs to be a crackdown, deportation or removal, let it be done civilly and humanely by law, instead of bullying, harassment and brutal beat downs by thugs. @harish: It has been verified he was an economic migrant. You just choose to be prejudicial towards the victim to rationalize the violence. Rally in Athens against Greece's Golden Dawn
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