News / Europe

Greece's Golden Dawn Leader Held Before Trial

FILE - Leader of extreme-right Golden Dawn party Nikolaos Mihaloliakos talks to reporters, Athens, May 6, 2012.
FILE - Leader of extreme-right Golden Dawn party Nikolaos Mihaloliakos talks to reporters, Athens, May 6, 2012.
Reuters
The leader of Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party was remanded in custody on Thursday pending trial on criminal charges, the first time an elected party chief has been put behind bars since a military coup nearly five decades ago.
 
The detention of Nikolaos Mihaloliakos, who has watched support for his party wane after a supporter was accused of murdering a popular rapper, is a reprieve for Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's government that has vowed to wipe out the party, calling it a “gang of neo-Nazis.”
 
Stunned by a court decision on Wednesday to free three other senior Golden Dawn lawmakers before their hearings, the government hailed Thursday's ruling as “the most dynamic confrontation of a neo-Nazi criminal gang in European, and possibly, world history.”
 
The government, which is hoping the arrests of senior Golden Dawn members will help it subdue a party seemingly untouched by accusations of violence and intimidation, praised the justice system for “doing its job”.
 
Mihaloliakos, gray-haired and bespectacled, shouted: “Long live Greece! Victory!” as he was led away from court in handcuffs in the early hours of Thursday. He denied charges of founding and belonging to a criminal organization during a six-hour plea session before a judge.
 
His wife and daughter, joined by Golden Dawn lawmakers, stood outside the court in the rain. “You are a diamond — don't buckle,” his wife Eleni Zaroulia, a fellow lawmaker, told him.
 
Flag-waving supporters yelled a popular party slogan: “Blood! Honor! Golden Dawn!”
 
Mihaloliakos was arrested on Saturday alongside four other party lawmakers and dozens more party members. A sixth lawmaker turned himself in on Sunday.
 
All six have denied the charges against them and say they are victims of political persecution.
 
'Neo-Nazi mentality'
 
Golden Dawn said the decision was “the most wretched conspiracy in modern Greek political history.”
 
“The jailing of our general secretary is totally unfair, unconstitutional and dictated by foreign centers of power,” it said in a statement posted on its website.
 
Extreme-right Golden Dawn party senior lawmaker Christos Pappas is escorted by anti-terrorism police officers to a courthouse, Athens, Oct. 3, 2013.Extreme-right Golden Dawn party senior lawmaker Christos Pappas is escorted by anti-terrorism police officers to a courthouse, Athens, Oct. 3, 2013.
x
Extreme-right Golden Dawn party senior lawmaker Christos Pappas is escorted by anti-terrorism police officers to a courthouse, Athens, Oct. 3, 2013.
Extreme-right Golden Dawn party senior lawmaker Christos Pappas is escorted by anti-terrorism police officers to a courthouse, Athens, Oct. 3, 2013.
Mihaloliakos and fellow party lawmakers Yannis Lagos and Christos Pappas were ordered detained pending trial on Thursday. He was transferred to a high-security jail later in the day.
 
A day earlier, party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris and fellow lawmakers Ilias Panagiotaros and Nikos Michos stormed out of the court celebrating their release as they kicked and spat at journalists and punched a camera out the way.
 
“I wonder how they can celebrate with such accusations on their back,” Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias, who described the scene as “repulsive, ugly and indicative of their neo-Nazi mentality”, told a Greek newspaper.
 
“But let's not kid ourselves ... they're Nazis, they behave like Nazis,” Dendias said.
 
Golden Dawn, for years a little-known group, rode a wave of anger at traditional parties, corruption and the country's deep economic crisis to win 18 seats in parliament in last year's election.
 
But the killing of anti-racism rapper Pavlos Fissas prompted protests across Greece and a crackdown on a party which has a swastika-like emblem and is accused of violent attacks on dark-skinned immigrants and political opponents, something it denies.
 
Despite shedding about a third of support since the killing, polls show it remains Greece's third most popular party.
 
“Every time they [the government] want to take measures against the people they always bring to light something else. Something big ... and then suddenly we have more taxes,” said pensioner Antonis Lavdas, who did not say which party he supported.

You May Like

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

Euro falls after European Central Bank announces a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program More

Saudi King’s Death Clears Succession Route

Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef is Saudi Arabia's New Crown Prince-in-waiting More

Cloud Hangs Over US Counterterrorism Efforts in Yemen

Sources say resignations of Yemen's president, government has left US anti-terror operations 'paralyzed,' yet an American military 'footprint' remains More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid