Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Thursday that his government would not allow the “successors of the Nazis” to destabilize Greece in the wake of the murder of antifascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas by a Golden Dawn member.
“Democracy is much stronger than its enemies realize,” said the New Democracy leader in a brief televised statement.
Samaras pleaded with the public and his political colleagues not to allow further violence.
“Violence is a downhill slide that destroys any chance of Greece achieving what it deserves, in other words growth, prospects and prosperity,” he said.
“This is not the time for internal disputes or tension,” added Samaras with a reference to the damage being inflicted on Greece’s image abroad.
Samaras’s statement appeared to be in a different direction to comments made by his close adviser Chrysanthos Lazaridis on Wednesday, when he blamed SYRIZA, as well as Golden Dawn, for political violence and suggested that the leftist party was not part of the “constitutional axis”.
Meanwhile, the Council of Europe expressed its concern on Thursday about the rise of extremism in Greece and across Europe in the wake of Fyssas’s murder.
“This murder stems from an extremely dangerous development we are seeing in Greece and also other parts of Europe,” said Council of Europe secretary general Thorbjorn Jagland. “Sections of society are becoming more radicalised and there is a real risk that hate speech turns into violence and cold-blooded murder.
“I support the Greek government’s efforts to conduct a rapid investigation of Golden Dawn’s involvement and to uphold the rule of law in the face of current protests. We cannot tolerate racist radical groups disrupting democratic society.”