STANDING UP: Immigrants protest against racism while holding flags and shouting slogans in Thessaloniki, Greece (PA)
GROWING RACIAL tensions amid economic collapse in Greece has seen a group of black citizens establish their own self-defence initiative to safeguard communities from white-supremacist thugs.
Concerned residents set-up the group, which has been nicknamed the “Black Panthers”, with the intention to protect vulnerable people via night time patrols in the capital’s neighbourhoods.
Since market and economic turmoil has led to rising unemployment in the country, Greece has seen a sharp rise in far-right extremist activity – fascist group Golden Dawn being a prominent face of such extremism.
Kenyan-born Michael Chege told Channel 4: “I am a member of the Black Panthers and everybody knows that.
“So I am giving them [Golden Dawn] a straight warning – don't mess with black people, anyhow. And I mean it.
“I'm not afraid of this neo-Nazi, stupid, idiotic group,” added the 28-year-old, who has lived most of his life in the country that is widely viewed to have given birth to democracy.
NAZI WANNABE: Christos Pappas, MP of the Golden Dawn political party, addresses the people in Mitropoleos square, Athens (PA)
Chege outlined his militant credentials as he hypothesised a new global war.
“In World War Two, [fascists] were crushed. In World War Three, we will exterminate them out of the face of the earth.
“[Golden Dawn] want to do what Hitler did. Try it. They will have the same fate and even worse”.
On the subject of violence and racial alienation in country, the Panther, who trained in martial arts, added: “I don't know if people know how it feels to be a stranger in your own land.
“I have encountered [Golden Dawn] ten times in a real fight, in a battle [it is] kill or be killed,” he added.
Chege’s mother Ann said the situation in the country has regressed so drastically that she wants to move back to Kenya.
“I love Greece. I feel it is my home. I cannot condemn Greece. I have enjoyed Greece”, she said.
“But now, it has changed 180 degrees. When I walk at night, I'm scared. If I raise enough money, I want to go to Kenya [for good] at Christmas time.”
BLACK POWER: Athenian Black Panther member Michael Chege in the Channel 4 documentary