Greece farm shooting: 30 injured, 2 arrested


A migrant fruit picker holds up a carton of strawberries inside a greenhouse on March 28, 2008 in Nea Manolada, southern Greece. Nea Manolada was a quiet village in southern Greece unknown to many until a strike by 'strawberry slaves' exposed the dark underbelly of one of the country's key economic sectors.


Yiannis Liakos

About 30 migrant workers from Bangladesh were injured in a shooting on a strawberry farm in Greece after demanding long-overdue pay.

A crowd of about 200 migrants was shot at by at least one of the farm's supervisors. Several workers were taken to the hospital, but none were in critical condition.

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The owner of the Nea Manolada farm and one of its foremen have been arrested.

One of the workers involved in the protest told reporters they had been promised $28.70 per day.

"They keep telling us that we will get paid in a month, and this has been going on for more than a year," said the worker, who was not identified. "We don't talk about it because we are afraid that we will be killed or kicked out."

The Greek government has condemned the attack on the migrant workers and anti-racism groups had planned a demonstration in the area later in the day.

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou called the shooting "inhuman" and "outside Greek morality," promising that authorities would respond immediately.

But the Communist-affiliate group PAME said that this latest attack is one in a long history of abuse against migrant workers in Greece.

Anti-foreigner sentiment has been growing in Greece since five years of recession has left one worker in four unemployed.

The country is known as a gateway for mostly Asian and African migrants trying to make their way into the European Union. Most who end up finding work in Greece are employed illegally, and more than 40 percent of the country's informal workers are migrants.