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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid