There have been a number of reports over the past 12 months about hate crimes being carried out against minorities in Greece, and now the numbers speak for themselves.

According to statistics from the Hellenic Police, the total number of hate crimes more than doubled in 2017, jumping to 184 from 84 incidents in 2016.

Hate crimes are divided into five categories: race, national origin or skin colour (133); religion (28); sexual preference (29); sexual identity (12); and disability (nine). Compared to other years, the largest spike was seen in the sexual identity category, namely against trans individuals.

Last year’s figures were so high, they even surpassed the number of incidents recorded in 2013, which until now was the worst year in Greece for hate crimes with 114 documented.

A significant reason for the increase is said to be a rise in far-right violence, particularly aimed at migrants, refugees and Muslims.

“The fascists in the previous years were afraid to expose themselves, but the crimes are now more open,” Anna Stamou of the Muslim Association of Greece told Al Jazeera.

“This doesn’t only impact the victims. The society is also very much deeply affected by this and loses faith in the system.
“Now, you look at the man in the supermarket next to you, and you wonder if he’s a fascist or not. It has penetrated every layer of society.”

According to police, out of all the hate crime carried out in 2017, at least 84 were by civilians, five by organised groups, 24 by police officers, 12 were civilians and unknown actors, while 59 remain unknown.

With a number of new far-right groups coming onto the scene, national director of the anti-fascist group Keerfa Petros Constantinou is convinced they are linked to Golden Dawn.

“The reality is that we are still facing the Golden Dawn’s neo-Nazis,” said Constantinou.

“There are small groups related to them. Practically speaking, they are using new names, but they are the same assault battalions as before.”