Clash breaks out between extremists and migrants in Athens

Other News Materials 25 November 2008 03:27 (UTC +04:00)

Several people were injured on Monday evening in a fight that broke out between right-wing extremists, migrants and others during a demonstration in Athens, police said, dpa reported.

The fight occurred during a demonstration against high crime rates by residents in the Agios Panteleimon neighbourhood. Demonstrators attributed the crime rate to an increased community of migrants from non-EU countries.

Right-wing extremists who had mixed in with other demonstrators began to attack immigrants and police were forced to break up the demonstration using tear gas.

"It was a battlefield. Hundreds of people fled in panic from the area," one resident told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. "Right-wing extremists, migrants and bystanders were hitting each other in the head."

None of the injuries were life-threatening, police said.

One in 10 residents in Greece is a foreigner, due in part to a years-long influx of refugees. In the last 15 years, Athens has legalized more than 700,000 immigrants and human rights organizations estimate that another 300,000 to 500,000 people could be in the country illegally.