Some 3,000 marched in Athens Jan. 19, parading the coffin of a Pakistani immigrant who was stabbed to death earlier in the week by suspected right-wing extremists. The anti-racist demonstration gathered in the city’s central Omonia Square, holding banners reading “Neo-Nazis out” and “Punishment for the fascist murderers of Shehzad Luqman!” Immigrant Luqman, 27, was assaulted by two men on a motorcycle as he rode his bicycle to work in the Athens neighborhood of Petralona in the early hours of Jan. 16. Police discovered dozens of pamphlets from the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn party in the home of one of the two men who confessed to the attack.
The bitterly anti-immigrant Golden Dawn won 7% of the vote in parliamentary elections last June, entering the legislature for the first time. Recent opinion polls show it ranks third among Greek political parties, with support of up to 12%. A large majority of migrants bound for Europe are said to pass through Greece. The UN High Commission on Refugees says racist attacks in the country have risen to alarming levels during the current economic crisis, which has made more than one in four Greeks unemployed. (Dawn, Pakistan, Jan. 20; BBC News, Jan. 19)