Published on Friday, January 11, 2013

Greek police accused of beating tourists

Police in Greece have been accused of beating up tourists in an attempt to crack down on illegal immigration.

A report by the BBC says tourists have been caught up in a new operation by police to check the papers of people believed to be living in Greece illegally.

At least two tourists have been badly beaten, it says. One Korean who was asked for his passport by a Greek police officer told the BBC he had been punched in the face when he asked to see the officer's ID and he was then knocked to the ground and kicked.

Last July, a US citizen born in Nigeria, who had visited Rhodes and Santorini on a family holiday, claimed he was arrested and beaten until unconscious by police officers when he stopped off in Athens on his way home.

The BBC said it is thought that up to 95% of undocumented migrants entering the European Union arrive via Greece, and because border controls make it hard to continue further, many end up stuck in the country.

According to some estimates, immigrants could now make up as much as 10% of the population.

More than 60,000 people have been detained on the streets of Athens since the operation to crack down on illegal immigration was launched last August, said the BBC, but there have been fewer than 4,200 arrests.

The UK Foreign Office says travellers to Greece should remember to carry identification with them. The advice on its website says: "In common with many countries there is a requirement in Greece to be able to identify yourself.

"A copy of your passport or photographic ID, which identifies you as a British citizen, should be carried at all times

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  • You have no idea here in the UK

    Tom, I wish you could all spend a night with these people. You may have a differing opinion before dawn breaks. 1. These guys have nothing to lose, so life gets really scary around them. 2. In some cases these guys are Islamic fundamentalists looking to disappear into a European background, a fifth column if you like. They roam about inside of gangs of 20 to 30 men and they ARE scary. 3. It is easy to be offended and horrified at the authorities from you safe perch in the west. When it comes to economic migrants (and that is what most of these guys are) They do not care who they hurt, they do not respect you by any means, and given half a chance they would kill you if they could take your place and not think twice about it. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. There is no excuse for talking back to Police when asked to prove your identity. The Police have every right to ask given their situation. It is precisely the softly softly bleeding heart attitude towards these people that leave us so vulnerable to them, their acts and in a few cases their terrorism. When life gets so cheap these people don't care whose life they alter, effect, or even take, just to improve their own life if only for 5 minutes. In my life I have been shot at, bombed and threatened by Islamic fundamentalists. Compared to those experiences most of life's events pale to insignificance.You need to see things for your self and understand how things truly are. Tom, go spend a night in the camps at the back of Patra port. Then tell me what is and is not acceptable the next day. The police did not breeze up to these two individuals and abuse them. They asked questions first and got "attitude" back. I feel no sympathy for them and every sympathy for the Greek police who have a really difficult job to do. And I have watched them do it.

    By Paul Davis, Tuesday, January 22, 2013

  • Any Rights for Foreigners?

    How totally repugnant of these authorities in Greece for assuming every foreigner guilty until proven innocent! How so out of touch with Human Rights of the UK Foreign Office to only comment on the need for carrying ID, without reference to the blatant abuse of authority. It stinks so bad.

    By Richard Mandunya, Saturday, January 12, 2013

  • Lets get this into perspective

    Anyone who has waited at Patras port for a ferry (and I have numerous times) will be able to tell you just what it was like. Thousands of illegal immigrants at a time would be wandering the port area just in the hope of sneaking onto the ferries. They were hiding in and under lorries, begging for money, lifts anything to get to Italy. Just before we sailed I was at the stern of the boat watching us depart and as the ramp was about to be lifted at least a hundred illegal immigrants stormed the back of the ferry, running in every direction. The Ferry loading crew and the two port police stood no chance as they vanished into the ferry's interior. The departure was delayed a few hours whilst they hunted them down. They never got them all. I saw a couple wandering around the boat whilst at sea I recognised them from begging outside the duty free building at Patras. When we got off the ferry at Ancona, the lorry in front of us stopped at a light outside the port and past the customs area which turned green as a man dropped out from under the lorry. I nearly ran him over. My partner was scared our whole time waiting at Patras. These individuals would intimidate you whilst begging for money. Last year the Greek police tightened up on security. Another time I slept the whole night parked between two police cars waiting for a local ferry to Kefalonia, it was the only time I felt safe on the quayside. The police were really friendly. It is all a matter of attitude, show attitude when stopped by the police and you get attitude back! This story ignores what the situation truly is and misrepresents the Greek police and the job they have to do. Anyone been to Agia Efimia in Kefalonia? One of the policemen there is severely disabled, he is often seen in uniform about the place. He was set upon by half a dozen of these illegals, they thought he was going to die but after six months on his back in hospital he recovered enough to work an easier job in the islands. His story never made the UK papers or the BBC news. Just thought I would show a different perspective.

    By Paul Davis, Saturday, January 12, 2013

  • .

    The fact that these people were tourists is irrelevant, if the allegations are true then it sounds like outright racism and police brutality to me. Even if they were illegal immigrants, this kind of treatment isn't acceptable. Unfortunately the austerity being inflicted on Greece is creating a poisonous political climate where things like this are becoming more and more common.

    By Tom O'Hara, Friday, January 11, 2013

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