Rally in Athens against racism, fascism

Athens, March 18 (IANS) Greek citizens, migrants and refugees took to the streets of Athens to protest against racism and fascism ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which is commemorated annually on March 21.

Holding banners with slogans such as “Freedom of movement” and “Unity”, demonstrators on Saturday, representing various groups confronting racism shouted for the end of wars, chaotic social inequalities, far-right violence and all forms of discrimination, Xinhua reported.

“We convey the message that we will not stand idle in front of the fascists who return 70 years after the Holocaust. If we are all united, we can stop them,” Petros Konstantinou, director of the local anti-fascist group Keerfa told Xinhua, pointing to the rise of the ultra-right and the dozens racist attacks against migrants in Greece and across Europe in recent years.

“We send the message to the EU that we will not tolerate the images of women and children drowning in the Mediterranean. We demand the re-opening of the borders,” he added.

The Athens rally was part of a series of protests held in 70 cities across 15 countries on Saturday to protest the second anniversary of the EU-Turkey deal and the similar EU-Libya agreement, he explained.

“We are here against fascism and racism all over the world. We send the message to the world that we are here to live in peace, because you know the situation, the conditions in our countries,” Samir, a Palestinian protester, said.

“All refugees as one from Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Africa, all people and immigrants send the message… stop the bloodshed everywhere in the world,” he said.

Javed Aslam, the President of the Pakistani Community in Greece union, asked for more measures to support migrants.

“There should be support to immigrants to live with dignity. Here in Greece they should legalize all workers,” he said.

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