Ultra-right meet plan raises fear of violence

Days after the government said it would ban a meeting of European far-right groups that is planned to take place in Greece at the end of the week, campaigners said yesterday that they would take action to stop the event amid growing fears that extremists will go ahead with the gathering and that violence could follow. Representatives of teaching unions and left-wing political organizations held a press conference yesterday at the Athens offices of the State Senior High School Teachers’ Federation (OLME) and said they are preparing to blockade national roads and campsites in a bid to stop the so-called «Eurofest 2005» from taking place. The meeting of the far-right groups from all over Europe is to be held between Friday and Sunday but the exact location has so far remained secret. One of the likely sites for the gathering is thought to be a camping area outside the town of Stylida, near Lamia, central Greece. «The local police have confirmed bookings for a large number of people at a campsite in the area,» local mayor Aleka Karagiorgou told Kathimerini. «We are following the matter closely. There is a fear that situations that we will not be able to control might develop.» Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos condemned the event last week and said it would be prevented from taking place. However, the question of whether this is permissible under the Greek Constitution has been raised since. The meeting is said to be organized by the Greek ultra-rightist groups Patriotic Alliance and Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn), whose website claimed that «our movement is determined to protect by every legal means our constitutional rights.»