26/11/2012 11:27 GMT

Hate Crimes In Greece Against LGBT And Ethnic Communities Rocket During Austerity

LGBT communities in Greece are experiencing an alarming rise in the number of violent hate crimes, according to a researcher writing for the Huffington Post UK.

Fragkiska Megaloudi describes how right-wing political rhetoric, resurgent in the face of Greece's dire economic crisis, is fuelling a wave of xenophobic attacks.

The Network for Recording Incidents of Racist Violence has said gay people are the "new Jews in Greece".

golden dawn

Greece is seeing a resurgent far-right

Ilias Panayiotaras, MP for the the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, launched into a homophobic tirade last month at a rally, shouting "Wrap it up you little faggots" and "Your time is coming".

Earlier this month a gang of thugs claiming to be members of Golden Dawn attacked a group of volunteers distributing anti-homophobic flyers in a popular cafe district.

The situation goes beyond the LGBT community as attacks on ethnic minorities are also rocketing.

Walid Taleb, an Egyptian worker, was beaten, refused hospital treatment and threatened with deportation after he demanded wages owed to him.

In August a young Iraqi was stabbed to death and in May an Albanian was attacked by a sword-wielding motorcycle rider.

Parts of Athens have become "like a war zone" where armed gangs "cruise the streets at night in search of victims".

In September three Golden Dawn MPs led gangs waving Greek flags through the streets of Rafina and Messolonghi, smashing up immigrant traders' stalls as they went.

Compounding the problem is a lack of political will to deal with the problem.

Human Rights Watch has written to the Greek minister for public order and citizen protection imploring him to establish special police units with the mandate to effectively deal with hate crimes.

Currently there is no specific legalisation to deal with hate crimes meaning most cases go unpunished.