Saturday, July 20, 2024

Migrants have been blamed for the fires affecting the country’s northeast

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For days, messages and videos posted on social networks pointed the finger at the migrants.

Over the past week, Greece has again been hit by violent fires, particularly near Alexandroupolis in the country’s northeast, near the border with Turkey, where several bodies have been found and engulfed in flames. In this remote area, one of the poorest parts of Greece, many migrants find themselves crossing the border and seeking asylum in the European Union. This presence of the exiles has unleashed racist reactions among some residents and internet users, prompting some to blame the fire.

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The frenzy escalated after a group of 13 Pakistanis and Syrians were allegedly caught in a video posted on social media last Tuesday as they tried to start arson near the city of Alexandroupolis. While the latter were accused of illegal entry and a lawyer attempted arson, a government source told the Greek daily. Kathimerini Available evidence suggests that migrants may be linked to an accidental fire.

These discourses also go hand in hand with some media misinformation. A local news website reported on Tuesday that 20 migrants were arrested after a shootout with police outside Alexandroupolis. The claims are denied by the authorities. A television channel issued a plea on Wednesday after it falsely reported that two migrants had caught fire in the nearby Rodobi region.

Underlying these accusations is a strong anti-immigrant resentment in the region, and some citizens now believe that exiles are setting fires to harm people or to infiltrate Greek soil more easily.

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Anti-Apartheid Demonstrations

Anti-racist activists in Greece are organizing in response to the allegations. On Friday, August 25, several thousand people gathered in front of Parliament to protest against these baseless allegations. “If they are refugees, you have to prove it before you victimize them because it’s too easy. said Babis, one of the protestors. Behind these accusations, there are issues of nationalism. In fact, it is our laziness in maintenance that is the cause of the fire, it is us, no one else, no one else who has set the country on fire.

More demonstrations against this growing racism are planned across the country in the coming weeks.

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