When the fascist far-right group the Golden Dawn won seats in the Greek parliament at last year’s election, many observers throughout the world were concerned that the nation’s problems had begun an ominous trend in Greece, from yesterdays mass protests however it seems that the Greek people have woken up to the dangers posed by the Golden Dawn.
On Wednesday, thousands of Greeks took to the streets of Athens to show their outrage against the far-right party following the murder of anti-racist musician Pavloss Fyssas. The man who committed the crime told police that he was a supporter of the Golden Dawn, a claim that the Party strongly denies.
“First it was the immigrants, then Fyssas, tomorrow it could be your son or daughter – everyone needs to understand this,” Vangelis Georgountzos, 59, told Reuters news agency as he gathered ahead of the protest in Athens’ central Syntagma Square with his daughter. Up to 10,000 protestors marched in Athens with another 2,000 in Greece’s second city of Thessaloniki.
Ever since the economic crisis struck Greece, the Golden Dawn has made their presence felt. Recently it has been accused of attacking its political opponents after nine people were hospitalised following an assault on Communist Party members. Human rights groups have long linked Golden Dawn supporters, who dress in black and are often seen giving Nazi-style salutes, to violent attacks on immigrants, something the party denies.
The party also has links to the Greek police with many police officers having voted for the GD in the last election. A policeman was arrested for reportedly working as a bodyguard for the party when police raided the party offices in the town of Agrinio. The government has launched a crackdown on the GD’s activities with raids taking place on a number of GD premises and the suspension of any police officers linked to the party.
In response the GD threatened to withdraw its members out of parliament in an attempt to force elections and incite political change. The plan if followed through however is likely to be highly damaging to the party as following Fyssas murder all of the mainstream political parties unified against the GD. Support for the group has declined by a third this month.
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