Greece Cracks Down Hard on Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Over Rapper's Slay

Arrest Party Leader and Lawmaker in Wide Push

Greek Tragedy: Greece is in turmoil again amid new austerity measures and the killing of a rapper who campaigned against the neo-Nazi resurgence in the country.
getty images
Greek Tragedy: Greece is in turmoil again amid new austerity measures and the killing of a rapper who campaigned against the neo-Nazi resurgence in the country.

By Reuters

Published September 28, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Greek police arrested the leader and more than a dozen senior members and lawmakers from the far-right Golden Dawn party on Saturday after the killing of an anti-fascist rapper by a party supporter triggered outrage and protests across the country.

The party’s leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos, spokesman Ilias Kassidiaris, two other lawmakers and 10 members were arrested on charges of founding a criminal organisation. They are due to appear in court this weekend to be charged formally.

Police confiscated two guns and a hunting rifle from the home of Mihaloliakos, saying he did not have a licence for them.

Golden Dawn, ranked Greece’s third most popular party, is under investigation for the murder of Pavlos Fissas, who bled to death after being stabbed twice by a party sympathiser.

“Shame on them, the people will lift Golden Dawn higher,” Ilias Panagiotaros, a Golden Dawn lawmaker told reporters before his arrest.

Several hundred party supporters gathered outside police headquarters chanting slogans and waving Greek flags. The party on its website called for protests in solidarity with its leader.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s government has so far resisted calls to ban the party, fearing it could make it even more popular at a time of growing anger at repeated rounds of austerity measures and instead, it has tried to undermine the party by ordering probes that could deprive it of state funding.

Samaras ruled out snap elections after the arrests.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said Greece did not face the risk of political instability and Justice Minister Haralambos Athanassiou said all Golden Dawn members who had been arrested would receive a fair trial.

TACTIC TO IMPRESS

The move to arrest the party members surprised some Greeks wary of political theatre in a country where little has been done to rein in a party widely viewed as neo-Nazi.

“It’s good that they arrested them, but I’m afraid that we will start killing each other now,” said Dimitra Vassilopoulou, a 58-year old housewife.

“Does the government actually mean it or is it just a tactic to impress us? Why didn’t they do anything when the immigrants were killed? How come they just discovered that Golden Dawn is a criminal organisation?”

The party has denied any links to the killing and Mihaloliakos has warned the party could pull its lawmakers from parliament if the crackdown does not stop.

If potential by-elections were won by the opposition, as some polls indicate, Greece’s fragile two-party coalition would become politically untenable, Mihaloliakos has argued.

The party has 18 of parliament’s 300 lawmakers and scored 14 percent of voter support in opinion polls before the stabbing. A poll this week showed this had fallen as low as 6.7 percent.

Greek lawmakers do not lose their political rights or seats unless there is a final court ruling against them but the government has proposed a law that could block state funding for Golden Dawn if police find links to Fissas’s murder.

Golden Dawn, whose emblem resembles a swastika, rose from obscurity to enter parliament last year after promising to mine Greece’s borders to prevent illegal immigrants from entering. Its members have been seen giving Nazi-style salutes but the party rejects the neo-Nazi label.

Human rights’ groups have accused the party of being linked to attacks on immigrants but this is the first time it is being is investigated for evidence linking it to an attack.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.