Political row over Golden Dawn clouds parade

As prosecutors prepare to level new charges against MPs of Golden Dawn as part of an ongoing investigation into the neo-fascist party, a political row broke out on Monday over whether representatives of GD should be permitted to attend celebrations marking the country’s resistance to fascism in World War II.

The dispute was prompted by a decision by the regional governor of Central Macedonia, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, to include Golden Dawn officials in his invitation to politicians to join the annual commemorative parade in Thessaloniki.

Tzitzikostas angered left-wing parties by sticking to protocol rather than shunning officials of the ultra-right party. He also outraged PASOK officials by suggesting that they could be excluded from the parade because former socialist veteran Akis Tsochatzopoulos was recently convicted for money laundering. PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and leftist parties boycotted the parade.

Tzitzikostas subsequently apologized for the furor, noting that “the democratic PASOK cannot be compared to Golden Dawn.”

A political row had broken out earlier this month when Defense Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos decided to bring back tanks and military aircraft to the parade, three years after their participation was stopped to cut costs, thanks to a private sponsor. On Monday SYRIZA MP Tassos Kourakis said the leftists would abolish parades when they come to power.

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