Golden Dawn denies market raids were illegal

Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) has insisted that its raids on street vendors in Rafina, northeast of Athens, and Messolonghi, western Greece, were legal despite an outcry from opposition parties and the Public Order Ministry?s instructions for all those involved, including at least three of the neofascist party?s MPs, to be charged.

?The employees of the Public Order Ministry are paid through taxpayers? sacrifices so they can defend illegal traders and illegal immigrants,? said Golden Dawn in a statement. ?In their desperate attempt to excuse their tolerance over many years for illegal trading, they are accusing members and MPs of the party of usurping authority and causing unprovoked damage to foreign property.?

The far-right group said that its deputies carried out checks on migrants? identification papers as ?simple Greek citizens? and that their actions were in line with the law.

The party said it would continue such raids on open-air markets.

SYRIZA said the actions were part of Golden Dawn?s effort to create an atmosphere of ?fascist terrorism?. It criticized Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias for failing to take action.

PASOK also called on Dendias to take more decisive steps to tackle Golden Dawn. It also warned those who support the party?s actions that it was only a matter of time before they also became victims of its ?hit squads?.

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