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Parliament lifts immunity of Golden Dawn MPs amid tension and tears

Stathis Boukouras addressing the House on Wednesday.

Parliament voted in favor of lifting the immunity of two Golden Dawn deputies, Giorgos Germenis and Nikos Michos, and two former GD lawmakers, Stathis Boukouras and Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos, in a tense session on Wednesday.

While Germenis and Michos reiterated their allegiance to the Neo-Nazi party, Boukouras and Alexopoulos, distanced themselves from the extremist group.

Germenis, who is currently in pre-trial custody and was given permission to attend the vote, singled out Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou by saying he would "always remember" him.

At the same time Boukouras - also in pre-trial detention - and Alexopoulos said they regretted being part of Golden Dawn.

Boukouras, who cried while addressing MPs, said he had put up an "honest fight" with the party and called himself a "nationalist, but not a fascist or a Nazi.

Alexopoulos, who left the party in March, noted that he had never been a member of GDs political council and that he had been considering leaving the party's ranks for a while but had failed to do so out of fear of violent reaction on behalf of party members against him and members of his family.

The MPs are facing charges of illegal possession of explosives and weapons.

Security was tight in Parliament on Wednesday and visitors were banned from entering the House. Golden Dawn spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris said the security operation was reminiscent of the Greek junta.

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday May 7, 2014 (14:49)  
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