Immigrants living in Greece are increasingly becoming scapegoats for the economic crisis, say local NGOs.
The Greek Council for Refugees says the government has recently intensified a campaign to round up illegal migrants to help quell public anger over ongoing austerity measures.
The NGO says the drive has led to a rise in racist attacks on immigrants and many are being refused access to proper asylum procedures.
Spokesman Spiros Rizakis says migrants are easy pickings in a country where the crisis has torn society apart. He said the government’s current approach has “fed extremist and racist opinions” which have led to “attacks on a daily basis”.
Last month, members of the far-right group Golden Dawn turned up at a market of immigrant stallholders in the town of Rafina. They destroyed the stalls of anyone who couldn’t show the correct documentation.
In June’s general election, Golden Dawn won seven percent of the vote. Since then, the party’s popularity has doubled, according to polls.