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Suspects arrested in strawberry-picker shooting

Police confirm that all three foremen suspected of shooting migrant workers in Nea Manolada is under arrest

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Police arrest three suspects - aged 21, 27 and 39 - in connection with migrant worker shootings in Nea Manolada, while citizen protection minister promises that none of the victims will be expelled from Greece for not having residence documents. All three suspects face charges of attempted murder

Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said that none of the migrants being treated in hospital have been arrested for not having documents Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said that none of the migrants being treated in hospital have been arrested for not having documents All three suspects being sought by police in connection with the shooting of migrant strawberry pickers in Nea Manolada has been arrested.

A police statement said the three were arrested on Friday in the town of Amaliada, near the village where the shootings took place on Wednesday.

Two of the men, aged 39 and 27, were arrested at their lawyer's office. The third, aged 21, was stopped during a road check.

All three face multiple charges of attempted murder.

It follows the arrest, on Thursday night, of another man, 38, on suspicion of sheltering the three foremen believed to have opened fire on some 200 mostly Bangladeshi workers (injuring 29 of them) who were asking for six months' unpaid salary on Wednesday. 

The shootings followed an altercation between the foremen and some 200 workers demanding six months' unpaid wages. Police said the foremen left the scene only to return with two shotguns and a handgun, and opened fire.

None of the injuries is life-threatening.

The news of Friday's arrest comes after Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias said that none of the workers being treated in hospital has been detained by police.

On Thursday Syriza MP Maria Kanellopoulou claimed that police had entered the hospital and arrested a number of migrants for not having papers.

Dendias said that no arrests have been made of suspected illegal immigrants since the incident.

After visiting the local police station on Friday morning, Dendias said that he has personally instructed that "none of victims be expelled from the country".

Officials have promised "swift and exemplary" punishment for the perpetrators. 

The incident drew calls on social media for a boycott on strawberries from Manolada, which produces most of the strawberries sold in Greece, in an industry based on cheap labour by migrant workers who are often housed in primitive conditions on the plantations.

Humanitarian

Meanwhile, the interior ministry has announced that it is considering granting residence permits on humanitarian grounds to the victims of the Manolada foremen, under the provisions of article 44 of Law 3386/2005.

"The unacceptable events in Manolada, in Ileia, in which foreign workers were subjected to a criminal attack demonstrates the need to both tackle racist attitudes and, secondly, to combat undeclared work," said the deputy interior minister, Haralambos Athanassiou.

He condemned "unequivocally this criminal act that exposes our country internationally and highlights the need for all to respect the country's legal system, such as paying wages owed and complying with the law."

He added: "Greece's future needs organised legal immigration, which will contribute to the economic development of rural areas and will meet the needs of Greek society and the economy."

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