Racial violence flares in Greece after defeat09 September 2004

Numerous outbreaks of violence flared up in Greece after the Euro 2004 champions were defeated 2-1 in a World Cup qualifying match against neighbouring Albania.

Albanians, who make up the largest immigrant group in Greece, came under threat up and down the country. The situation deteriorated so dramatically in Athens that police used tear gas to disperse the angry mob.

Tragically, Gramoz Palushi, a 20 year old Albanian man, was stabbed to death. Hundreds attended his funeral, in Tirana, Albania. An American-Greek, Panagiotis Kladis-Xifitas, 22, has been charged with the murder.

Hundreds of people showed their disgust by marching through Thessaloniki chanting “Racism is murder”. The rally was organised by local anti-racist groups and passed peacefully.

Members of the Greek Coalition party are pressing for legislation to make racism a criminal offence, similar to laws that exist in most other European countries.