Following news of the shooting and wounding of 29 immigrants on a strawberry farm in the Peloponnese, for which its owner and three foremen were arrested, human rights groups say racist attacks are still climbing in Greece, and becoming especially violent.
The Racist Violence Recording Network released the figures which it said showed the backlash against immigrants is continuing, even as the government is preparing to deport illegal immigrants caught in a roundup over the past year.
Kostis Papaioannou, head of the National Commission for Human Rights, said the network documented 154 cases of racist violence in 2012, a 20 percent increase over the previous year.
But, he said, the number could be much higher as many victims are afraid to come forward, fearing further mistreatment by authorities or deportation for entering the country illegally.
The government has complained that Greece, the southernmost entry point to the European Union, can’t cope with waves of illegal immigrants who arrive by sea or through its borders, although a fence has been erected along its northern territory abutting Turkey.