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Suspected shooters arrested for migrant attack: Greek police

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Greek police on Friday arrested three men who allegedly shot and wounded almost 30 migrant strawberry pickers who had demanded long-overdue pay, an official said.

"The three men have been arrested" a police source told AFP.

The suspects, who work as strawberry field foremen, were caught in the town of Amaliada in the southern Peloponnese peninsula, a few kilometres (miles) from the village of Manolada where the attack occurred on Wednesday.

They are accused of firing at a crowd of 200 migrants mainly from Bangladesh who had gathered to demand back pay which in some cases stretched to six months.

The farm owner was arrested on Thursday as a "moral instigator" of the alleged shootings, as was another man for giving temporary shelter to two of the presumed shooters, police said.

The police source in Athens said one of the suspects had been involved in another attack last year against an Egyptian labourer who was dragged from a car and injured in a similar dispute over pay.

The government condemned the Wednesday shooting but unions noted that the incident was only the latest in a long history of abuse of migrant workers in Greece.

In 2008, Manolada was the focal point of a rare strike by hundreds of migrant workers against near-slavery conditions in the fields.

Hundreds of seasonal workers, most of them foreign, are employed in local farms for meagre wages, living in shacks and forced to pay rent to their employers.

They work in greenhouses in temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for a salary of around 22 euros ($29) a day.

The treatment of migrants in Greece has long been criticised by domestic and international rights groups, to little avail.

str-jph/wai

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130419/suspected-shooters-arrested-migrant-attack-greek-police