Paraskevi Kokoni, her 25-year-old nephew, Kostas and her 13-year-old son, Andreas, in Etoliko, western Greece, 21 January 2014 © Amnesty International
“Two of the men went for me and the rest were punching and kicking Kostas. I was calling for help but nobody came to help us… “. Paraskevi Kokoni, 11 February 2014.
In October 2012, an 11 year old boy witnessed an attack on his mother, Paraskevi Kokoni aged 34 and older cousin, Kostas, aged 23, who has a mental disability. Several men jumped on them as they were out shopping, beating them with logs they grabbed from a nearby track. The attack happened in the main square of their home town of Etoliko in western Greece.
Both Paraskevi and Kostas suffered injuries. The family no longer felt safe and had to leave their home behind and move to a nearby city.
The attack was motivated by anti-Roma sentiment widespread in the village. This Roma community has suffered a series of attacks by locals, some of whom are believed to be linked to far-right groups. In 2012 and 2013, groups of people attacked them in their homes, terrorized them and vandalized their property. Some Roma were injured and many more fled in fear. The Roma reported that during attacks the few police present failed to intervene.
Roma communities have been at the receiving end of discrimination, intolerance and violence for a long time. It is time to stop this. Let us stand together against hate.