News / Europe

Greek Immigration Crisis Spreads to Universities

Henry Ridgwell
ATHENS - The Economic University of Athens is on the front line in the city’s immigration crisis. Immigrants and their student allies often clash with police and right-wing groups. A local resident supplied VOA with a video shot in early May showing a clash with police.

The police stopped VOA from filming their operations - but we did get inside the university gates. It is illegal for security forces to enter universities, so the immigrants seek refuge inside - and are welcomed by the students.

Student leader Yiannis thinks the immigrants are being made a scapegoat.

“Our parents were also immigrants. The immigrants who come here now do not do so by choice," he said. "They came from countries and regions where there are wars, where military regimes rule, and they have come here to create a better future for them and their families.”

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees expressed concerns over rising violence against immigrants.

"We have daily incidents of groups of supposed angry citizens, but also of extremist far right groups, instigating and hunting migrants just because of the color of their skin or of their nationality. What can I say? This is totally unacceptable,”  said Giorgos Tsarbopoulos, head of UNHCR Greece.

Many Greeks blame the migrants for rising crime rates and the nation's economic crisis.

Another local resident gave VOA a video that he says shows immigrants attacking people near the university.

The far right Golden Dawn party polled seven percent in May’s election. Its manifesto includes laying mines along the Greek-Turkish border to prevent immigrants from crossing into Greece.

No migrants agreed to speak on camera. Some told VOA that the Greek government’s refusal to allow them to work - and EU rules that prohibit travel elsewhere in Europe - leave them unable to feed themselves.

 “These people should be free to travel to whichever country they want," insisted student activist Yiannis. "To go there and find work where they can. It is quite simple.”
The political turbulence in Greece means the future remains as uncertain as ever for the tens of thousands of immigrants caught in the eye of Europe’s debt storm.

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by: uilow from: japan
June 07, 2012 11:02 PM
when greeks attack immigrants its on the news everywhere....here i saw a group of immigrants attacking someone yet no news on that..the truth is governments want these immigrants to stay and work low wages..and want the indiginous population(whom work for high wages) to migrate

by: Svenn from: New York
June 07, 2012 7:42 PM
I would like to see Greece remain Greek. I feel that way for all countries. Africa for Africans, Asia for Asians, White countries for everyone. Sounds like a double standard to me.

by: Susan Sontag
June 07, 2012 1:59 PM
Africa for the Africans
Asia for the Asians
White countries for EVERYONE?!
It is geNOcide!

Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White.

by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
June 06, 2012 3:56 PM
Like all things in Europe, Greece is in a state of reversion. It will go back to rule by the Military Generals. As materialism collapses in Europe, the new idealism which will follow is likely to take the form of fascism. This in turn will upset America and Russia. It is all part of the process known as history.

by: Mystified
June 06, 2012 3:38 PM
This is a new phenomenon, it will pass in due course. Only Germany has enough jobs to satisfy their citizenry and also make some spaces available for other European countries' youth and unemployed adults to take up, the rest of European nations will remain for the foreseeable future mired into this new economic phenomenon.

Greeks need to understand the fact that those visible minorities did not cause the economic problems, they are as much victims as Greek youth from past Greece's past politicians who faked their books to join the European economic zone. If anything blame the people that made the problems, not other victims who have nothing to do with creating this economic mess many are suffering with.

by: Gab from: USA
June 06, 2012 12:31 PM
Greece has 20% youth unemployment, they cannot find work. What do you think a flood of immigrants are going to do to Greece? They will be come slave labor or a drain on Greek tax dollars. There are 52 Countries in Africa, why must they all come to Europe?

New York Times: "For the first time in history, more blacks are coming to the United States from Africa than during the slave trade: Since 1990, according to immigration figures, more Africans have arrived voluntarily than the total who disembarked in chains before the United States outlawed international slave trafficking in 1807".

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