Greece stands in solidarity with French people after Paris attacks

2015-11-14 21:41:23 GMT2015-11-15 05:41:23(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

ATHENS, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Greece's political leadership and ordinary citizens across the country vehemently condemned on Saturday the terrorist attacks in Paris that shocked the world and expressed solidarity with French people.

The President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos called his French counterpart Francois Hollande to express condolences over the deaths and the injured in Friday's attacks.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sent a similar message to Hollande before dawn. After an emergency mini cabinet meeting on the issue he reiterated Greece's determination to join forces with all countries to respond to the "attack on a Europe of democracy, freedom and multiculturalism."

"Terrorists will win if they manage to terrorize us so that we abandon our values. They will win if they lead us to the creation of a fortress in Europe for people living in fear," Tsipras said, urging for more joint efforts to put an end to wars and resolve the escalating refugee crisis.

Officials across the political spectrum issued similar statements, while media commentators and citizens in the streets of Athens and in social media expressed concern over the possible impact of the tragedy on refugees seeking safety in Europe.

The fear for a spike on xenophobic attacks and of the closure of borders to people in need of help in response to the attacks increased after the announcement of the Greek Public Order Ministry that one of the suspects have passed through Greece.

"The holder of the Syrian passport which was found on the site of the terrorist attack passed through Leros island on Oct. 3, 2015 and was registered under the EU regulations, according to the EU Summit's decisions on the management of the refugee crisis," Deputy Public Order Minister Nikos Toskas said in a written statement.

According to unconfirmed Greek government sources French authorities requested information from Athens on two suspected assailants.

More than 600,000 refugees and migrants have reached Greece's shores from January 2015. The vast majority were Syrians fleeing the war. Most of the refugees after their registration on the Greek islands continue their journey to western and northern Europe.

Hundreds of Greeks flooded on Saturday the streets around the French embassy in the center of Athens and the French consulate in the northern city of Thessaloniki to leave flowers and messages of support.

"Athens prays for Paris" read banners raised by citizens in a series of gatherings called by political parties and nongovernmental organizations.

"Je suis Paris" chanted people holding candles and waving EU flags, as the Athens City Hall was lit in the colors of the French national flag.

"Our mind and heart today are in Paris for a united, free and safe Europe," City of Athens Mayor George Kaminis said.

Greek citizens voiced shock and deep sorrow for the "horrific massacre" in Paris as well as fear that innocent refugees may suffer the wrath for the actions of extremists.

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