Authorities in Lamia, central Greece, will be on high alert on Saturday amid fears of violence at a gathering scheduled by members and supporters of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party at a memorial to the Battle of Thermopylae.
Golden Dawn celebrates the battle of Spartan King Leonidas and his 300 warriors against Persian invaders in 480 BC every year and the events have gone off without incident in the past, but authorities are concerned of possible violence this year as the site is less than 300 meters from two hotels being used to host migrants and refugees.
Golden Dawn espouses a virulent anti-migrant agenda and its supporters have been linked to dozens of violent migrant attacks. It further appears that the party has been rallying supporters from all over the country to attend Saturday’s event, even organizing buses to shuttle them to the location.
There will be a heavy police presence at the event, authorities have assured, while dozens of the town’s residents have also volunteered to guard the refugees from 4 p.m. until the attendees of the event, which is scheduled to begin at 7.30 p.m., have left.
The two disused hotels were repurposed by the Regional Authority of Central Greece several months ago as refugee hostels and today house 488 individuals, mostly families with children.