Wednesday, October 2, 2013
The BBC profiles Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party. Claimed by many to be neo-Nazis, the Golden Dawn party has gained substantial support during the ongoing Greek economic crisis. In the October 2009 election, held just before the country's credit rating was downgraded, the party was winning less than 1% of the vote and had no representation in parliament. After two international bailouts and a government austerity drive, it won 7% in 2012's elections, ending up in fifth place with 18 seats in parliament. It took advantage of growing public anger fuelled by corruption and mismanagement by the established political parties; drastic cuts to jobs, wages and pensions enforced by international lenders; and a steady flow of immigrants seeking access to the EU. Outside parliament, its members sought to drum up support through programmes such as food hand-outs to the poor, which pointedly excluded immigrants. Its leaders declared ordinary Greeks under attack.
MP Ilias Panagiotaros told the BBC: "Greek people have to protect themselves. Nikolaos Michaloliakos said that "Greek society is ready... [for] a new type of civil war. On one side will be nationalists like us, and Greeks who want our country to be as it used to be. On the other will be illegal immigrants and anarchists."
Members were accused of perpetrating attacks on foreigners and political opponents, culminating in the killing of left-wing rapper Pavlos Fyssas in September 2013. The investigation into that crime has resulted in a clampdown on the party and the arrest of its leadership on charges of belonging to a criminal organization.