The Rise of the Golden Dawn in Greece
The Golden Dawn party, which uses neo-Nazi imagery and tactics, is drawing on the economic mess across Greece and focusing its ire on immigrants. Violence, and threats of violence, are a growing problem, and the rise in its political fortunes is tied to the ongoing economic problems.
Threats, beatings and vows by Golden Dawn followers to ‘rid the land of filth,’ a sporadic problem in recent years, have become commonplace since the party claimed 18 of Parliament’s 300 seats in the elections last month, even after Ilias Kasidiaris, the party’s spokesman, repeatedly slapped a female rival during a televised debate.
While some arrests of attackers are being made, Human Rights Watch and other groups accuse the Greek police of increasingly looking the other way when confronted with evidence of violence, and even standing by while the beatings are going on. All of this, the report says, is ‘in stark contrast to government reassurances.’
The report further states that undocumented migrants ‘were routinely discouraged from filing official complaints,’ and that ‘the police told some victims they would have to pay a fee to file a complaint.’ In addition, it said, the police told some victims to fight back themselves.
‘We have hundreds of reports from people who are beaten while policemen were standing there doing nothing,’ said Thanassis Kourkoulas, the spokesman for Expel Racism, an immigrant support group. He said officers had been accused of assaulting immigrants in police stations and of giving the telephone number of Golden Dawn to citizens who called with complaints about crime and immigrants.