Check out the previous installments in this ongoing series:
#10: David Irving
#9: Roger Waters
The good news is that since September 28 the Greek government has been cracking down on Golden Dawn, the neo-Nazi movement that won almost 7 percent of the popular vote in spring 2012 and, ending up with 18 parliamentary seats, became Greece’s third strongest party.
On September 17, an antifascist rapper named Pavlos Fissas (aka Killah P.) was stabbed to death in Athens, allegedly by a Golden Dawn activist. Earlier attacks, including at least one fatal one on an immigrant, were also ascribed to Golden Dawn.
On September 28, Greek police arrested Golden Dawn’s leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, and other top party members on charges of running a criminal organization. Michaloliakos and two other deputies are now in jail awaiting trial. Meanwhile the Greek parliament has voted to strip six more Golden Dawn MPs of their immunity.
While the Greek constitution doesn’t allow political parties to be banned, the parliament also appears set to cut Golden Dawn’s state funding.
So much for the good news.
The bad news is that, first, Golden Dawn remains popular. It was scoring as high as 14 percent in opinion polls before the rapper’s stabbing, and since then has gone back down to about 7 percent. Whether or not that’s just a temporary dip is not yet known.
And second, as long claimed and as Financial Times confirms, one of Golden Dawn’s strongholds in the country is none other than the police:
[Golden Dawn] has penetrated the country’s police force, set up caches of heavy weapons in remote locations and trained its recruits to carry out brutal attacks against immigrants and political opponents, according to the country’s top security official.
Nikos Dendias, minister of public order and civil protection…has assigned the police antiterrorism unit to probe the party’s allegedly criminal activities…. But another reason for taking the investigation away from the regular police force is that it has been infiltrated by Golden Dawn. Some police officers in districts with sizeable immigrant populations have gone beyond colluding with local neo-Nazis to set up political cells within their units, Mr. Dendias said.
…The move to crack down on Golden Dawn follows an escalation of violent incidents in recent months. Analysts say attacks became more frequent because of police foot-dragging over making arrests of Golden Dawn sympathisers and reluctance by politicians to take a strong stand against it.
Indeed, the bad news.