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On streets of Athens, racist attacks increase

ATHENS — Authorities are trying to curb a rising wave of extreme-right rage against foreigners as Greece sinks further into economic misery.

The details of the assaults vary, but the cold brutality of each attack is the same: Dark-skinned migrants confronted by thugs, attacked with knives and broken bottles, bats and iron rods.

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Rights groups say there has been an explosion in racist violence over the past year, with a notable surge since national elections in May and June that saw dramatic gains by the far-right Golden Dawn party.

The severity of the attacks has increased too, they say.

Simple fist beatings have escalated to assaults with metal bars, bats, and knives. Another new element: ferocious dogs used to terrorize the victims.

‘‘Violence is getting wilder and wilder and we still have the same pattern of attacks, committed by groups of people in quite an organized way,’’ said Kostis Papaioannou, former head of the Greek National Commission for Human Rights.

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