- Title: GREECE: Muslim protestors smash cars, shops and set fires in Athens rampage
- Date: 23rd May 2009
- Summary: ATHENS, GREECE (MAY 22, 2009) (REUTERS) LARGE CROWD OF IMMIGRANT PROTESTERS SHOUTING AND WAVING THEIR ARMS IN THE AIR FIRES ON THE STREET, PROTESTERS RUNNING IN STREET SMOKE FILLS AIR, PROTESTERS IN STREETS SMASHED WINDOWS OF CAR MAN PUTTING OUT FIRE IN STREET WITH FIRE EXTINGUISHER CAR OVERTURNED ON STREET BROKEN SHOP WINDOW POLICE ARREST IMMIGRANT PROTESTER IN HANDCUFFS AND TAKING HIM AWAY SCORES OF POLICE MOTORCYCLES WITH SIRENS ON DRIVING DOWN STREET POLICE HOLDING CLUBS PUSHING IMMIGRANT, GRABBING HIM BY THE NECK POLICE PUSHING AWAY JOURNALISTS POLICE SURROUND IMMIGRANT ON THE GROUND AND HANDCUFF HIM SCORES OF POLICE WITH MOTORCYCLES POLICE HOLDING IMMIGRANT IN HANDCUFFS SMASHED WINDOWS OF CAR IMMIGRANTS SITTING ON GROUND IN HANDCUFFS SURROUNDED BY POLICE VARIOUS OF GROUP OF ARRESTED IMMIGRANTS SITTING AND LYING ON STREET WITH HANDS BEHIND THEIR BACKS IN HANDCUFFS IN FRONT OF SMASHED SHOP, POLICE CIRCLING THEM POLICE OFFICER PUSHING JOURNALISTS AWAY IMMIGRANTS SITTING ON GROUND IN HANDCUFFS
- Embargoed: 7th June 2009 13:00
- Location: Greece
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Reuters ID: LVADJTXD20W9PPWMUKTE3UWGU15H
- Story Text: Hundreds of Muslim immigrants violently protested in Athens on Friday (May 22) smashing shop windows and turning over at least one car following earlier clashes with police at a demonstration over the alleged destruction of a copy of the Koran.
Greek riot police fired tear gas to disperse the protestors who threw stones and sticks outside parliament during the earlier protests.
On Thursday (May 21), the Muslim Union of Greece reported that during police checks at a Syrian-owned coffee shop, an officer took a customer's pages of the Koran, tore them up, threw them on the floor and stamped on them during a check for the immigrant's legal papers. Police have launched an internal investigation.
About 1,500 Muslims marched through Athens on Friday holding the holy book in their hands to protest over the alleged incident, chanting "Allah is great" and carrying banners reading "Hands off immigrants".
As evening fell, protesters ran through the streets of Athens with police pursuing them and carrying out arrests in a sweep.
Police said 20 people were detained and four people were injured. Baton-wielding police were seen dragging away some of the protesters.
Police said they have launched an internal investigation into the incident and anyone responsible would be penalised accordingly.
The Muslim Union of Greece, representing thousands of immigrants in Athens, said it had filed a lawsuit against the unidentified policeman.
On May 9, members of a pro-nationalist rightist group attacked illegal immigrants squatting in a building in Athens, sending at least three to hospital. Human rights groups accuse Greece of not doing enough to protect immigrants.
Tens of thousands of immigrants, many from Muslim and Asian countries, cross into Greece illegally every year seeking a better life in the West.
Many have difficulty finding jobs, live in squalid conditions, and are often arrested for minor crimes and harassed by police.
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