The Cradle of Democracy has just provided us with a sneak preview of what lies in store for the rest of Europe in the years ahead. In scenes described by the New York Times as ‘resembling
something from Africa a war zone’ police have clashed violently with African immigrants protesting over the death of a Nigerian man at the weekend.
The news enraged hundreds of African youths in the neighbourhood, who began attacking police cars with stones and firebombs, burning dozens of cars and smashing shop windows. As one does. "Hundreds of them hit the streets, probably for revenge ... Dozens of police units are gathering to try to control the situation," a police official, who declined to be named, said. Police responded by firing tear gas at the crowd, evacuating some restaurants in the area, and closing several streets to all traffic.
Greece has a massive illegal immigrant problem and given the restrictions on repatriation imposed by European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) the numbers ‘resident’ have been growing rapidly. The growing numbers, inevitably, have raised tensions with the existing population. Equally inevitably, Africans have been at the forefront of the troubles.
And it’s not over yet. Calls are being posted at websites, including the Independent Media Centre, for more people to join the protests in Greece's two main cities, as well as the city of Iraklio, on the island of Crete.
And it's coming to a place near you. Just give it time.