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Trial opens over Greek strawberry farm shootings

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A strawberry farm owner and three of his foremen went on trial in Greece Friday over a shotgun attack on a group of Bangladeshi migrant workers protesting about unpaid wages.

Last year's shootings near Manolada, 260 kilometers (160 miles) southwest of Athens, wounded 28 and highlighted the plight of foreign laborers who form the backbone of Greece's agricultural industry.

The four Greek suspects have been charged with human trafficking and breaches of firearms and employment laws. Initial charges of attempted murder were softened to grievous bodily harm.

The shootings followed an altercation between the foremen and some 200 strawberry pickers demanding six months' overdue pay. Police said the foremen left the scene, returned with two shotguns and a handgun and opened fire into the crowd.

The trial opened in the southwestern port city of Patras Friday, but was halted until an interpreter could be found for the Bangladeshi witnesses.

It will resume on June 12.

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