NEWS

Former justice minister under fire for GD remarks

TAGS: Politics

Opposition parties have accused ruling SYRIZA of turning a blind eye to the excesses of Golden Dawn after former justice minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos said in an interview in Sunday’s edition of the Vradyni newspaper that the extreme-right party must be supported by democratic parties if it decides to embrace the rule of democracy.

He also defended his remarks on Vima FM radio, saying that “if a [GD member], and there are many of them, changes their stance and makes steps toward democracy, then they must be supported.” He also called for a “convergence” with Golden Dawn to bring it in line with democracy rather than being constantly at loggerheads with it.

Ruling SYRIZA’s decision not to publicly admonish the former minister prompted New Democracy spokesman Vassilis Kikilias to accuse it of maintaining “clandestine ties” with the neo-Nazi party, while other conservatives said both parties had worked together in Parliament to bring down the government of Antonis Samaras in 2014. Conservatives also cited Defense Minister Panos Kammenos’s trip last week to the islands of the eastern Aegean in the company of GD members.

PASOK, for its part, described Paraskevopoulos’s comments as “shameful,” while To Potami said that the ongoing trial of Golden Dawn for the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas in 2013 suffered its biggest delays during his term in office.

Gate-crash

The offices of the Athens Journalists’ Union (ESIEA) were stormed by members of the far-right Golden Dawn party on Monday during an event marking Human Rights Day.

The gatecrashers, who included lawmakers Yiannis Lagos, Ilias Panayiotaros and Constantinos Barbarousis, shouted abuse at people participating in the event, which focused on issues regarding ethnic minorities living in Greece and included the presentation of recommendations by international organizations.

The neo-Nazi party members had assembled outside the building on central Academias Street before storming the third-floor offices of the union.

The event’s organizers claimed they had requested police protection, but that their request had been ignored.

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