The terrifying rise of Greece’s Nazi party (The far-right kills as it kills elsewhere in Europe)

by Nov 13, 2013Magazine

Anti-fascist rapper murdered by ‘neo-Nazi’ Golden Dawn supporter

The murder of anti-fascist campaigner Killah P, whose real name was Pavlos Fyssas, has sent shockwaves across the country. The 34-year-old left-wing activist and hip-hop artist was stabbed to death by a neo-Nazi and Golden Dawn party supporter.

According to eyewitnesses, a few hours after midnight on the 18th, a group of 30 men wearing black T-shirts marked with the Golden Dawn party symbol attacked the Greek anti-fascist hip-hop musician near a coffee shop in Amfiali, Keratsini, a district of Athens.

Immigrants as scapegoats stirred popular outrage

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in recent days, paying tribute to the late singer. Activists and journalists have also taken to the web to denounce the violence used by the extreme right.

Since 2008, Golden Dawn supporters have assaulted immigrants with brass knuckles, knives and batons. Most of the attacks have been captured on video and proudly posted on Golden Dawn’s YouTube channel. But Golden Dawn is not just a gang of radical right-wing thugs. Golden Dawn was, until the September murder, the country’s third most popular party who held 18 deputies in the 300-member chambers after winning nearly 7% of the vote in general elections in 2012.

Government has worked to crack down on the Party

But for the first time since 1974, the return of democracy in the country, a party head and sitting members of Parliament have been arrested. Police announced the arrests of 16 Golden Dawn members, including party head Nikos Michaloliakos, called the Greek führer by the media and several lawmakers. The head of Greece’s extremist right-wing Golden Dawn party was remanded in custody pending trial on charges of running a criminal organisation.

Mr Michaloliakos started the far-right party in the 1980s. Characterised by anti-Semitism, homophobia and racism, the party’s members and supporters have frequently been suspected of carrying out violent attacks, mainly against immigrants. Recently, Golden Dawn has been largely suspected to be linked with the disappearance of at least 100 immigrants in Athens presumed dead by the authorities.

The report by the prosecutor claims that Golden Dawn’s structure is parallel to a military-like force whose members attack mainly immigrants, and that the group’s hierarchical structure means the party leadership knows of every attack. Despite its reputation for violence, the party had enjoyed growing popularity, ridding the wave of the twin crisis of financial meltdown and soaring illegal immigration.

During a trip to New York on 30 September, Antonis Samaras, the Greek prime minister, spoke of eradicating the ‘shame’ of Golden Dawn. On the same day, his government drafted a law to cut state subsidies for the party (Golden Dawn received around $1.2 million this year). If the allegations that Golden Dawn is a criminal organisation can be proven then Mr Samaras’s government might be able to hope the return of citizen support, in a context where Greece is going to assume the rotating EU presidency on January 2014 and where the discussions go on with the international creditors (IMF, ECB) for disbursement of a further aid tranche.


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