Faced with growing anger over the shooting of immigrant workers in Greece who were shot by a supervisor after they complained about not being paid for six months, the government criticized what it called an “unprecedented and devastating” incident.
“The injuries suffered by protesting farm workers in Manolada are being condemned in the most absolute manner by the entirety of Greek society,” government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said in a statement.
“This unprecedented and devastating act is alien to Greek morals and the reaction of the authorities will be swift and proper,” he said. Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias added that, “Respect for the law is a fundamental obligation for all of us, but also a necessary condition for the country’s economic revival,”while criticizing cases of economic exploitation.
Most political parties issued statements condemning the Manolada shootings, although there was no word from the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party accused of attacking immigrants, which it has denied.
The incident occurred when some 200 workers allegedly demanded unpaid wages from their employer. The pickers became involved in an argument with three Greek supervisors, at least one of whom fired at the migrants with a shotgun, it was reported. Some 30 Bangladeshi workers were injured in the incident, with several of them said to be in a critical condition. Two men have been arrested by the police so far. Authorities were reportedly looking for two more suspects.
Manolada has been at the center of cases involving violence against migrant workers a number of times in recent years. Last year, two Greek men were arrested for beating a 30-year-old Egyptian, jamming his head in the window of a car door and dragging him for around one kilometer.
In 2008, migrants working on farms in New Manolada, known for its strawberries, went on a four-day strike to protest poverty wages and squalid living conditions. Several activists have called on consumers at home and abroad to boycott Manolada strawberries. A social media campaign was launched on Twitter under #bloodstrawberries.
The international media strongly criticized the incident, few days after the report of Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks, who stated: “Impunity for the rising number of racist crimes in Greece has to end”.
According to the Associated Press, Police Capt. Haralambos Sfetsos stated, “We have identified the three foremen and are looking for them. They are three Greek men, who live locally. The injured have been taken to various nearby hospitals. We have been informed that none of the injuries are life-threatening,” Sfetsos continued.