News / Europe

Greece Pledges Crackdown on ‘Neo-Nazi’ Golden Dawn Party

Greece Pledges Crackdown on 'Neo-Nazi' Golden Dawn Partyi
X
September 21, 2013 1:04 AM
Greece has pledged to crack down on the far-right party Golden Dawn after it was accused of orchestrating the killing of a left-wing activist. The party denies any involvement. Golden Dawn also is accused of dozens of attacks on immigrants and opponents. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, analysts see the party's growing support as a symptom of a so-called "crisis of democracy" in Greece.
Henry Ridgwell
Greece has pledged to crack down on far right party Golden Dawn after it was accused of involvement in the killing of a left-wing activist. The party denies any involvement. Golden Dawn is also accused of dozens of attacks on immigrants and its opponents.  Political analysts see the party's growing support as a symptom of a so-called crisis of democracy in Greece.

There have been daily demonstrations in Athens and other Greek cities since the fatal stabbing of activist and rapper Pavlos Fissas Tuesday night.

The main suspect is a self-proclaimed supporter of Golden Dawn - though the party insists he is not a member.

On Thursday, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras issued a warning.  He pledged that his government is determined not to allow the descendants of Nazis to poison lives, to commit crimes, to terrorize, and to undermine the foundations of the country that gave birth to democracy.

Golden Dawn’s leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos strongly rejected those accusations.

"Golden Dawn has said that it condemns this specific tragic event and others." he said. "It condemns every act of violence. But this is not enough for the ‘holy inquisition’ of Greece in 2013, created by this bailout government. They should know that they will not succeed in their plans."

Greek police have asked for permission to check Golden Dawn lawmakers’ phone records on the night of the killing. Local media say prosecutors are investigating 32 allegations of violent attacks by party members.

Authorities are using existing legislation to take on Golden Dawn, rather than trying to ban the party, says Dionyssis Dimitrakopoulos of Birkbeck College, University of London.

“First of all, use criminal legislation and secondly, use the counter-terrorism legislation and squad that exists in Greece, which is foreign-trained… They [Golden Dawn] behave from what I can see like a criminal gang," he said. "And a case could possibly be made that in fact, this is a terrorist group.”

Golden Dawn caused shock waves when it took seven percent of the vote in 2012 to become Greece’s third biggest party. Its campaigns are fiercely anti-immigrant.

Party supporters wear black tops and military fatigues; their symbol closely resembles a swastika.

But Golden Dawn denies being a neo-Nazi movement.

“There is some support for this neo-Nazi group even in parts of Greece where there is no direct major problem of criminality...or significant numbers of illegal immigrants,” said Dionyssis Dimitrakopoulos.

The traditional explanation is that, at times of economic crisis and soaring unemployment, Greeks are turning to extreme politics. But Dimitrakopoulos says there is a deeper cause rooted in the political response to the debt crisis.

“The Greek political establishment no longer commands the legitimacy that it used to command or it should command," he said. "So ordinary Greeks, at least between elections, find it too easy to say that they would consider voting for that kind of party.”

In January, Greece takes over the rotating presidency of the European Council, and political analysts say the government is desperate to show that it is capable of fighting extremism.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More