Far-right groups have had a strong presence in recent rallies against compulsory vaccination, seeing the pandemic and the social pressures it has created as an opportunity to regroup in the post-Golden Dawn era.
According to police, around half of the some 3,500 people that gathered at a Syntagma Square demonstration last week belonged to organized far-right groups. Among them were members and supporters of parties founded by imprisoned members of Golden Dawn.
“The Greeks for the Fatherland party had a thunderous presence in the rallies against the compulsory vaccinations being planned by the government of New Democracy,” said a statement by the party created by the imprisoned Ilias Kasidiaris, a former senior member of Golden Dawn.
Supporters of the also imprisoned Yiannis Lagos, a former MEP with Golden Dawn, were also present at the same rally.
“Greek patriots and nationalists have protested against the health dictatorship they are imposing on us,” the party of Lagos said in a statement, accusing the police of using chemicals against its members.
However, the largest presence at last Wednesday’s demo was from the ProPatria group, one of 16 organizations included in a confidential report last year by the Hellenic Police (ELAS) on far right-wing extremism in the country.
The group said on its website that it took part in last week’s demo to protest the government’s “compromises on Macedonia and its submissive attitude to Turkey.”
“For us it was not just another anti-vaccination rally. It was an anti-government gathering of disgruntled Greeks,” it said.
In the wake of last week’s demo, ELAS is forming a case file concerning the non-implementation of health safety rules for public rallies, as well as on the attacks launched by protesters against police.