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The case of "bloody strawberries" triggers the cumbersome state apparatus

19 April 2013 / 15:04:10  GRReporter
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The Greek police arrested the three supervisors who had fired at immigrant strawberry pickers in Nea Manolada. The men are aged 21, 27 and 39 and the accusations against them are for attacking and shooting at the workers. The youngest of the perpetrators was captured on a street in the city and the other two - in a law firm in the presence of a prosecutor.

Last night and earlier today, the police authorities seized two other men, charging them with concealment of criminals because they had concealed the attackers in their houses over the past two nights.


Meanwhile, it has become clear that one of the attackers is clearly of racist disposition. In August last year, he and two other people had tied to a car an Egyptian worker in the strawberry fields and dragged him along the streets in the village of Nea Manolada. A pre-trial file for causing grievous bodily harm has been composed in connection with the case, but the trial has not yet taken place.

The stories of the immigrants and the residents of the particular village and the neighbouring ones in Nea Manolada reveal that a Greek apartheid has been imposed against the immigrants who work in the strawberry plantations. They are forced to work long hours for very low wages, living in miserable conditions and they often become victims of the violence used by the plantation owners and their supervisors. In parallel, as GRReporter has already informed, the investigation of criminal acts is practically impossible because of the imposed "law of silence" in the region and because of the fact that no one can approach the plantations.


Greek television cameras that nobody dared to halt yesterday showed the living conditions of the workers. They sleep crammed together in "beds" made of wooden pallets and cardboard. Their clothes are hanging on the "walls" of the nylon-covered huts, where they shiver in the winter and in the summer, the temperatures reach 50° C.

The shooting at the workers last Wednesday has triggered the cumbersome state mechanism. Today, Minister of Citizen Protection Nikos Dendias accompanied by a team of the newly established police department to combat racist violence and of the labour inspection arrived in Nea Manolada.

"What happened here is not only illegal; it directly contradicts the spirit of humanity. The case is completely unacceptable and it is not indicative of the general culture of the Greek people and Greek society," the minister said upon his arrival in the village, adding that only a week ago, an amendment was introduced in the law, which allows the police to carry out inspections in connection with the failure to observe the labour law. "The new decree was signed by the President. However, I cannot but admit that the authorities were not always in place. This demonstrates the need for the reforms that are taking place."


The Minister also said that none of the immigrant workers without permits to reside in Greece was in custody or at risk of extradition.

At the same time, four owners of strawberry plantations in the region had been arrested for employing immigrant workers without a permit for a legal stay in Greece. They testified to the prosecutor and were dismissed after the setting of the date for the trial against them.

Tags: Crime newsImmigrantsStrawberry fieldsShootingNikos DendiasNea Manolada
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