Bangladeshi migrants shot in Greece
Published: 2013-04-18 11:59:55.0 BdST Updated: 2013-04-18 17:01:17.0 BdST
About 30 migrant workers, mainly Bangladeshi, have been wounded in a shooting on a strawberry farm in Greece after requesting salaries that had not been paid, according to reports.
Wounded Bangladeshi migrants are being treated in a hospital after they have been shot at a strawberry farm in Greece
The incident took place in a Peloponnesian village in southern Greece where at least one farm supervisor opened fire at the workers, BBC reported.
Several of the workers have been taken to hospital but none are in critical condition, it said.
Jamal Hossain, First Secretary of Bangladesh mission in Greece, told BBC Bangla that he already reached the troubled area.
Hossain said 16 Bangladeshi workers were given first aid while the condition of seven others remained serious.
The owner of the farm in Nea Manolada and one foreman have been arrested.
However, All European Bangladesh Association President Zainul Abedin said, "More than 150 Bangladeshis were working in that farm and they did not get paid for the last six months."
Abedin was also with Hossain at the scene when he spoke to bdnews24.com on the phone.
He said, "The farm's owner did not listen to any requests of the workers to clear their salaries. The workers started their strike three days ago."
"The owner called them in promising payment and opened fire on the workers."
The workers are due $150,000, he added.
Abedin said he and Jamal Hossain were on their way to speak with a lawyer to determine legal measures.
He also urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to take fast and effective measures to save the Bangladeshi workers.
Nea Manolada, about 260km (160 miles) west of Athens, is an area where thousands of migrant workers are employed.
Around 200 workers had gathered to request their unpaid salaries when at least one farm supervisor opened fire.
The BBC report said that AP news agency quoted police Captain Haralambos Sfetsos as saying that the workers had "moved threateningly" towards foremen.
In addition to the two men already arrested, warrants for two further arrests have been issued, the report said.
Nea Manolada has a history of exploiting migrants.
In 2008 workers staged a strike against inhumane conditions. There have also been reports of previous attacks.
A social media campaign has now been launched to boycott the fruit from Nea Manolada, calling them "blood strawberries", BBC says.
The Council of Europe - the main European human rights watchdog - issued a report this week detailing abuse against migrants in Greece.
The report warned of a growing wave of racist violence, stating that "democracy is at risk". It highlighted the role of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.
‘WE ARE AFRAID’
Reuters news agency reported that anti-foreigner sentiment has been rising in Greece, where one in four workers is unemployed after five years of recession.
One of the immigrants involved in the protests told Greek Skai TV that they had been promised wages of 22 euros (19 pounds) a day.
"They keep telling us that we will get paid in a month, and this has been going on for more than a year," said the worker, who was not identified. "We don't talk about it because we are afraid that we will be killed or kicked out."
Greece is a gateway for mostly Asian and African migrants trying to enter the European Union through its porous sea and land borders.
Most of those who find work in Greece are employed illegally; more than 40 percent of Greece's informal workers are migrants.
The Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, said after visiting Greece this year that he was seriously concerned about a rise in racist violence and urged authorities to get tougher.
Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou on Thursday condemned what he called an "inhuman attack".
"This unprecedented and shameful act is foreign to Greek ethics," Kedikoglou was quoted as saying by Reuters.
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