Press release of the Antiracist Initiative of Thessaloniki – Antifascist Assembly for solidarity – NAFTHA – 31 May 2013
Bloody racist attacks against immigrants took place on Saturday 25 May for the first time in downtown Thessaloniki, highlighting in our city as well the level of barbarism that can result from the rise of racism and fascism. Two immigrants were stabbed, one of them to the neck, in two different parts of the city, and have already reported to the police that their attackers hurled racist threats at them before attacking them.
Specifically, on Saturday 25 May around midday, a group of Greeks heckled African street vendors in the area around Aristotelous square and Tsimiski street [translator's note: the most central area of downtown Thessaloniki], threatening that if they didn’t leave the country, they’d kill them. At 4pm, according to eyewitnesses, two persons on a motorbike drove near a 39-year-old vendor from Rwanda and one of them tried to stab him in the neck. The migrant pulled back, thus avoiding the worst but with a light wound to the jugular. He was transferred to the Ippokrateion hospital where his wound was stitched up, while he gave his deposition about the incident to the police.
As if this weren’t enough, a young Iraqi refugee denounced that, late at night on that same day, at around 2am, he was assaulted outside the Faculty of Theology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki by a group of people who asked him where he is from, directed threats with a clear racist content at him, such as “go back to your country” and “get out of here”, and then hit him with a dagger, carving a diagonal wound across his chest (see photo). The Iraqi youth managed to escape his attackers and to go to the Ippokrateion, where his wound was also stitched up. On Monday 27/05 he met a NAFTHA lawyer and filed a lawsuit against persons unknown under in flagrante procedures.
We will not allow such inhuman attacks to become part of daily life in our city. No one can remain a passive spectator of acts of racist violence, whether verbal or physical. Indifference only gives more audacity to those who are full of racist hatred and assault vulnerable people. We must all be united and vigilant to react immediately every time we witness incidents that humiliate the human condition in the worst possible way.
+306984108744: NAFTHA contact number for victims or witnesses of racist violence or demeaning behaviour.