Greek police announced Monday that crime-fighting operations targeting Roma settlements have intensified, after the now-world-famous young girl called Maria was discovered last week living with a couple who were not her parents, in a Roma camp in the town of Farsala, central Greece. The couple was charged with abducting a minor and has been jailed, pending trial. Despite an international campaign, Maria’s identity remains a mystery, as her real parents have yet to be found.

Earlier that day, as the Maria mystery case was making local and international headlines, 200 police officers accompanied by prosecutors were preparing to sweep a Roma settlement in Menidi, also known as Aharnes, in the far northern outskirts of Athens.

Greek police filmed the operations with at least two cameramen and posted the edited video on its official YouTube channel.

The video has no sound. In its opening sequence, there is footage from inside a car as the police approach the area about to be raided. Special forces can be seen regrouping and entering the homes. All faces in the video, of both policemen and locals, are blurred. Close-up shots show the police officers with their fingers on the trigger, while kids and the elderly are motionless. A forensics team, wearing gloves, searches peoples’ belongings, on beds and inside drawers and cupboards. A chair is propped on top of a bed. Then riot police units secure the area, so that the search operations can proceed without the interference by the locals.

According to a police press release, there were two police operations on Roma settlements near Athens on October 21. 230 people and 50 vehicles were searched. A total of 105 people were detained and nine arrested. (Almost one in two people searched, were detained). Three Roma families were asked to provide proof of identity for their children, with “negative results” – in other words, the children did belong to their families.

According to the same press release, among those arrested in Zephyri and Avliza Aharnon (Menidi) were: two Greek Roma men, with pending arrest warrants in relation to a gang which was hijacking bank ATMs; a Greek Roma man, who had a pending court conviction; a Greek national (non-Roma), for wilful disobedience; five foreign nationals, for living illegally in Greece.

Similar operations took place in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, in the Perea and Diavaton Roma settlements. This time, 24 homes were searched and 51 people were detained. A single arrest was made: a man who had a standing warrant for tax evasion.

In a separate case, Athens police announced that five underage Roma were arrested last Saturday for mugging other children at knifepoint in two metro stations. It’s not that such incidents do not occur, but the press release again specified that the alleged perpetrators were Roma. In official police language, the terms ‘native’ (‘imedapos’), ‘foreign national’ (‘allodapos’) and ‘Roma’ or ‘Athiganos’ (‘Roma’ or ‘Gypsy’) are routinely used.

More worryingly, according to official figures released Monday, 1,740 police operations took place in Roma settlements across Greece from January to September 2013, long before officers found Maria last Wednesday October 16.

A total of 32,425 people were detained and 1,559 arrested. 5,535 infractions were recorded.

According to London-based Minority Rights Group, there are about 300,000 Roma living in Greece. The total population of Greece is 11.4 million.

A quick and simple reading of police statistics would imply that almost one in ten Roma have been detained by the police in the first nine months of 2013.

Not all those detained or arrested during police raids of Roma settlements are necessarily themselves Roma, but the numbers remain high. It is also unclear whether those ‘foreign nationals’ (‘allodapoi’) detained or arrested, are ethnically Roma or not.

“These police actions, in the form of extraordinary and targeted police searches, will continue with intensity across the whole territory,” the October 21 press release (in Greek) concludes.