Alexia Tsagkari and Olga Stefatou

ATHENS, Greece — Clubs, crowbars, folding batons, chains, brass knuckles, knives and broken bottles — all were reportedly used last year to attack immigrants and other foreigners in Greece.

As the economy suffers, racist violence has spiked. Last year, 154 race-motivated attacks were reported to the Racist Violence Recording network, a coalition of NGOs set up by the UN Refugee Agency and the National Commission for Human Rights in Greece.

Some victims said they were attacked by groups of vigilantes dressed in black, patrolling the streets with large dogs. Others say their attackers wore the insignia of Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi party that won 18 seats in Greece’s last election. Twenty-five victims said their attackers were on the police force and seven reported being attacked in immigration detention camps.

Officials have promised to pass an anti-racism bill. But the issue has divided the fragile coalition government. Junior parties pledged to move forward on the bill and the conservative senior party tried to table it.

Published on Global Post