Golden Dawn MP first to be ejected from Parliament chamber for years

A Golden Dawn MP, Panayiotis Iliopoulos, on Friday became the first lawmaker to be ejected from Greek Parliament since democracy was restored to Greece when the junta fell in 1974.

Iliopoulos was ejected by Deputy Speaker Yiannis Dragasakis after launching an attack on SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras instead of asking the question that he had been allowed during a debate. Iliopoulos then refused to recognize Dragasakis, who demanded that the lawmaker ask his question or face expulsion. This triggered applause from deputies of other parties, whom Iliopoulos promptly called “goats” (sheep).

Dragasakis called security guards but the Golden Dawn MPs withdrew from the chamber before they arrived. As they left, “Heil Hitler” was heard three times.

Parliamentary minutes show that one cry came from SYRIZA lawmaker Giorgos Pantzas. “Why don’t you take out a gun and shoot us? Heil Hitler,” he shouted at the departing deputies. It wasn’t clear who else shouted the Nazi salutation.

Although Golden Dawn often attempts to hide its neo-Nazi links, high-profile members, including leader Nikos Michaloliakos, have refused to condemn Nazism and recognize the Holocaust.

Tsipras later accused New Democracy of contributing to the rise of Golden Dawn by harboring far-right MPs. The conservatives responded by warning that SYRIZA lawmakers had in the past overstepped the mark in Parliament.