Hard Times Come to Omonia Square
The sprawling Greek capital, Athens, is home to nearly half the crisis-hit country's population.
Central Omonia Square, once the vibrant commercial heart of Athens, has become a symbol of despair and social collapse. The square and surrounding neighborhoods have been ravaged by Greece's deep economic downturn and a ﬂood of illegal immigrants.
With unemployment spiking, especially among people under 25, the number of homeless youth is on the rise.
With business and tourism in decline, drug use and prostitution are ﬂourishing in an area that was once considered the crossroads of Athens.
Police, often young recruits fresh from the police academy, struggle to control crime and clamp down on drug trafﬁcking.
Addicts injecting heroin and other drugs have become a common sight on streets and in alleys around the square.
Budget cuts have undercut the government's ability to care for people in need. The homeless sleep on the street and line up for food at an outdoor soup kitchen.
This Romanian woman, known as Amalia to drug-abuse outreach workers, died of an apparent blood infection soon after this photo was taken in an empty lot near the square this autumn.
Paramedics put Amalia into an ambulance.
A couple embrace at night in Omonia Square.
Bangladeshi men, part of a massive wave of migration into Greece from Africa and South Asia, meet at an Indian restaurant.
Gangs of neo-Nazis attack and intimidate migrants. Here, a Bangladeshi man shows an ultranationalist emblem spray-painted on his door.
Trafﬁckers often hide heroin and other drugs, packed in small spherical packets, in their mouths to avoid detection.
Police ofﬁcers confront a man they searched with what they said were drugs found on his body.
Ofﬁcers assigned to a task force combating illegal immigration check documents at a bar near Omonia Square.
A police ofﬁcer prepares to strip search a detained Bangladeshi man in the bathroom of the Omonia police station.
The ofﬁcer pushes the Bangladeshi man down on the hardware of the sink, jamming it into his shoulder.
Immigrants live crammed into small ﬂats, many without heat and water.
Here, Muslim migrants gather to pray at an ad hoc mosque to celebrate Eid al-Adha, the feast of the sacriﬁce.
Muslim migrants during Eid al-Adha festivities, which commemorate the Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacriﬁce his ﬁrst-born son.
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