Local Greek authorities organized a demonstration in Gümülcine (Komotini) in northeastern Greece on Monday evening, bringing together nearly 150 members of Golden Dawn. Following the demonstrators' march toward the Turkish Consulate in Gümülcine, they were refused access to the street on which the consulate is located and subsequently congregated in front of the GTGB building. Chanting Greek nationalist and anti-Turkish slogans, the demonstrators are reported by Turkey's Anatolia news agency to have attacked Turks present in the garden of the GTGB premises by throwing bottles. They left the scene only after police intervention.
GTGB chief Koray Hasan strongly condemned the attack, stating: “It is not we who have brought the immigrants here. Go and protest in front of those who are responsible for the immigrant influx. We wholly condemn the attack, and want the people use their brains.”
Authorities in Greece are rounding up thousands of suspected illegal immigrants in a large-scale deportation drive to combat what one government official has compared to a “prehistoric invasion.”
Police said on Monday that 6,000 people were detained over the weekend in Athens in a massive operation incongruously named after the ancient Greek god of hospitality, Zeus Xenios. Officers across the city were seen stopping mainly African and Asian people in the street for identification checks. Most were only briefly detained, but about 1,600 were arrested for entering Greece illegally and sent to holding centers pending deportation.
Left-wing opposition parties have criticized the crackdown, while the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has voiced concerns that migrants from war-torn countries and genuine asylum seekers could be denied the right to protection. Some 100,000 illegal immigrants are estimated to slip into Greece every year, predominantly from neighboring Turkey, and up to a million are believed to live in Greece, which has an official population of about 10 million.