Government officials appealed for calm yesterday after three days of attacks by ultranationalist mobs on dark-skinned foreigners in Athens, sparked by the fatal mugging of a Greek man in the capital’s crime-infested center.
The public order minister, Christos Papoutsis, said there was a “very high risk of hate crimes’’ amid rising social tension and promised action to address inner-city crime.
Greece is in the throes of a major financial crisis. It is also the main gateway to the European Union for tens of thousands of illegal migrants from Asia and Africa that have transformed the capital’s ethnic makeup by moving into depressed central neighborhoods. The influx has helped fuel a nationalist backlash that reached a climax this week.
Greece’s Pakistani community says more than 100 Asian and African immigrants were attacked Thursday by rampaging youths protesting the mugging in a march.
Nobody has been arrested for Tuesday’s killing near the National Archaeological Museum, the biggest showcase of Greece’s rich ancient history.