Sunday December 21, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
17o C
10o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Greek neo-Nazis hold position, aim for Europe

Less than a year ago, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had vowed to "eradicate" neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn as an investigation began into the party’s allegedly criminal activities.

As results filtered in from Sunday’s first round of local elections, it was clear his promise has yet to be met.

Even with most of the party’s 18 lawmakers facing charges including incitement to murder, and a third of them locked up in pre-trial detention, Golden Dawn still managed to boost its support in several areas including Athens.

One of its MPs, Ilias Kasidiaris, who will be tried for assault and illegal weapons possession, picked up over 35,000 votes and 16.12 percent in the Athens mayoral race for a fourth-place finish.

Fellow lawmaker Ilias Panagiotaros, also on trial for assault, secured over 179,000 votes and 11.13 percent as candidate for greater Athens governor, also finishing fourth.

"I shudder to see one in six fellow Athenians voting for a neo-Nazi candidate. We should all shudder," said Andreas Papadopoulos, a moderate leftist politician.

Four other Golden Dawn candidates generally stood their ground in other parts of the country, securing between 5.0 and 8.74 percent.

Samaras recently said he was opposed to banning Golden Dawn, and that it was wiser to combat the party’s appeal politically.

But despite a torrent of allegations about Golden Dawn’s violent, military-style organization, the party’s popularity has stayed firm among a core group of supporters.

The only difference is that the movement has scaled back aggressive street marches and torch-lit gatherings by its black-clad, muscle-bound members and now seeks a lower profile.

With leading members including founder Nikos Michaloliakos behind bars, "Golden Dawn doesn’t have the political means any more to organize demonstrations and other mass events very frequently," said political scientist Vassiliki Georgiadou.

But she notes that beyond this, "nothing has changed substantially" and the party is "still strong," particularly among the young and unemployed.

After six years of recession and four years of austerity cuts, unemployment in Greece is around 27 percent, including over 50 percent among youths.

Many of Golden Dawn’s supporters say they are motivated by despair and anger, not racism.

They include Dimitris, a 35-year-old taxi driver, whose wife had to terminate two pregnancies because they could not afford more mouths to feed.

"Meanwhile, the people who have been in power until now have been lining their pockets," he fumed.

Freighter captain Nikolaos, 53, said he is "too old to be a fanatic."

But he has "had enough with the country’s ruin...and with being part of Europe without seeing any advantage."

The party, which dismisses the investigation as politically motivated, is now setting its sights on the upcoming European Parliament ballot on Sunday.

Two of its European candidates are retired senior military officers.

"I want to be first in Athens and first in the European elections," 33-year-old Kasidiaris, a pharmaceutical company representative, told AFP in spite of the initial results.

"We want to work for the Europe of the nations, not the bankers," added the party spokesman.

In June 2012, Kasidiaris achieved notoriety after getting into a heated dispute with two female left-wing lawmakers during a morning talk show.

He threw water in one lawmaker’s face, then struck the other when she rose to challenge him.

Yet he insists the party abhors violence.

"We are against violence. We fight corruption, criminality, poverty. Our bad reputation has been created by the media," he says.

"People like Golden Dawn. Ask anybody," he adds.

Formerly on the fringe of Greek politics, Golden Dawn surged in popularity in the wake of the country’s debt crisis, tapping into widespread anger over immigration and austerity reforms.

They picked up further support after organising food donations exclusively for Greeks.

Evidence being used against Golden Dawn includes claims of assault against political opponents and migrants, as well as the murders of a Pakistani migrant and a left-wing Greek rapper last year.

"Foreigners don’t have to be afraid, anybody who is legal have no problem with us," Kasidiaris said.

A date for the criminal trials has yet to be set. [AFP]

ekathimerini.com , Monday May 19, 2014 (20:45)  
Greek PM offers compromise solution with elections by end-2015
Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
Corfu to host country’s first hydroplane strip
Political upheaval sharpens after bribe claims with threats and insinuations
Workers rush to get early retirement
Nine out of 10 workers who retired in the last four months who had belonged to the former special funds of banks and state corporations that have now been incorporated in the Social Security...
Piraeus Containter Terminal goes from strength to strength
Piraeus Container Terminal, the local subsidiary of Chinese giant Cosco Pacific, is expected to handle a total of over 3 million containers in the January-December period of this year. The J...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Explosive Barca unfazed by Panathinaikos, bomb scare
Panathinaikos lost 80-67 at home to Barcelona on Friday in a rather meaningless game at the end of the first group stage of the Euroleague, but the encounter will be remembered for the bomb ...
SOCCER
Abidal cuts short playing career at Olympiakos
Former France and Barcelona defender Eric Abidal announced his retirement from football on Friday, a day before his last match. Abidal said he will finish after playing for Olympiakos agains...
Inside Sports
INTERVIEW
‘Crisis of confidence will come back again and again,’ says Thomas Piketty
He’s treated like a rock star wherever he goes to lecture. His book “Capital in the 21st Century,” a study on income and wealth inequality from the 18th century to the present, recently tran...
COMMENTARY
Who lost Greece
If Greece collapses much will be said about where the fault lies. Sure, we all know the failings of Greek politicians. That said, much of the blame lies with outsiders who pushed Greece beyo...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Greek PM offers compromise solution with elections by end-2015
2. Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
3. Corfu to host country’s first hydroplane strip
4. Political upheaval sharpens after bribe claims with threats and insinuations
5. Police gets new communications system
6. Most Greeks say they recycle daily
more news
Today
This Week
1. Who lost Greece
2. Greek PM offers compromise solution with elections by end-2015
3. Snubbing the moderates
4. ‘Crisis of confidence will come back again and again,’ says Thomas Piketty
5. Get your facts straight
6. The big picture
Today
This Week
1. Samaras summons bond vigilantes with euro exit talk
2. A friendly yet firm message from Pierre Moscovici
3. Europe's drama in Greece needs final act to avoid tragedy
4. High stakes
5. On the edge but not gutless
6. Gap between SYRIZA and New Democracy closing, says poll
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.