The Fascist ultra-nationalist political party has increased its support among austerity hit Greeks since winning seats in parliament at this year’s elections. Its support has grown to such an extent that it would come third in any new elections.
The extremist organisation, which has been linked with increasing numbers of murders and attacks on foreign nationals, has surpassed the once dominant PASOK socialist party according to a pulse survey in a Greek newspaper. The poll shows that Golden Dawns popularity now stands at 10.5% placing it in third place behind the hard-left SYRIZA party (24%) and coalition leader New Democracy (25%).
The party’s anti-immigrant stance has struck a chord with a sufficient minority of Greeks as they blame the state of the country on illegal immigrants. Worries about ever-increasing crime rates and soaring unemployment levels have caused disenfranchised Greeks to flock to the Golden Dawns nationalist agenda.
Since the beginning of 2012 over five hundred immigrants have been admitted to hospitals as a result of racist attacks. According to reports in the newspaper Ta Nea, based on various non-governmental organizations, this is nearly double the total of victims of similar attacks over the same period last year. Disturbingly there has been increasing reports that the Greek police have stood idly by during assaults and some immigrants claim that the Police have simply ignored their complaints.
During the last elections it is believed that up to 50% of the police force voted for the Golden Dawn party with some politicians claiming that for years, rightwing extremists had done the police force’s “dirty work”, mopping up migrants from the ghettoes of inner Athens in exchange for protection.
The Golden Dawn has grown increasingly militant in recent months with the party’s leader Nikos Mihaloliakos calling on his supporters to take up arms.
“We feel disgusted in the parliament,” he said in a speech on 25th August. “If they want us to, we can abandon it at any given moment and take to the streets. There, they shall see what the Golden Dawn is really about, they will see what battle means, they will see what struggle means, they will see what bayonets sharpened every night mean”. Holding torches, they shouted “blood, honour, Golden Dawn” – a direct translation from the German “Blut und Ehre”, the motto once carried by the Nazis.
“It’s you who are our Storm Detachments. Let them come after you!” he continued, in his usual Nazi-inspired terms. Singing their official hymn “Raise the flags high” – again, a direct translation of the Nazi stormtroopers hymn “Die fachne hoch” – young men and women call for open, violent conflict both with the state and with any opponents on the ground.
Disturbingly the parties support is expected to rise further as the Greek government tries to push through a new round of highly unpopular spending cuts worth €12 billion over the next two years.
Mondays leaked report from the Troika (Greeces international lenders) is also set to bolster anger against the EU and Antonis Samaras’ embattled government. The leaked email shows that the Troika has called for looser regulations governing working hours, so that employees might work for six days a week, with a minimum rest between shifts of only 11 hours. They also proposed to lift restrictions on switching workers between morning and evening shifts.