Golden Dawn (political party)

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Popular Association – Golden Dawn
Λαϊκός Σύνδεσμος – Χρυσή Αυγή
Secretary-General Nikolaos Michaloliakos
Spokesperson Ilias Kasidiaris
Founder Nikolaos Michaloliakos
Slogan Blood, Honour, Golden Dawn Αίμα, Τιμή, Χρυσή Αυγή
Founded 1 January 1985 (1985-01-01)
Headquarters Athens, Greece
Newspaper Chryssi Avgi
Youth wing Youth Front
Ideology Ultranationalism[1][2]
Fascism[3]
Neo-Nazism[4]
Political position Far-right
European affiliation European National Front
European Parliament group Non-Inscrits
Colors Black
Hellenic Parliament
16 / 300
Municipalities
14 / 12,978
European Parliament
3 / 21
Regions [5]
26 / 725
Party flag
Meandros flag.svg
Website
www.xryshaygh.com
Politics of Greece
Political parties
Elections

The Popular Association – Golden Dawn[6][7] (Greek: Λαϊκός Σύνδεσμος – Χρυσή Αυγή, Laïkós Sýndesmos - Chrysí Avgí), usually known simply as Golden Dawn (Greek: Χρυσή Αυγή, Chrysí Avgí pronounced [xriˈsi avˈʝi]), is a far-right[8] political party in Greece. It is led by Nikolaos Michaloliakos.

Scholars and media have described it as neo-Nazi[4][9][10] and fascist,[11][12][13] though the group rejects these labels.[14] Members have expressed admiration of the former Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas of the 4th of August Regime (1936-1941).[15] They have also made use of Nazi symbolism, and have praised figures of Nazi Germany in the past.[16][17][18] According to academic sources, the group is racist and xenophobic,[19][20] while the party's leader has openly identified it as nationalist and racist.[21]

Michaloliakos began the foundations of what would become Golden Dawn in 1980. It first received widespread attention in 1991, and in 1993 registered as a political party. It temporarily ceased political operations in 2005 and was absorbed by the Patriotic Alliance. The Alliance, in turn, ceased operations after Michaloliakos withdrew support in the spring of 2007. Golden Dawn held its sixth congress, in March 2007, where party officials announced the resumption of political activism. At local elections on 7 November 2010 Golden Dawn got 5.3% of the vote in the municipality of Athens, winning a seat at the City Council. In some neighbourhoods with large immigrant communities it reached 20%.[22]

The party ran a campaign during the Greek national elections of 2012 based on concerns for unemployment, austerity and the economy, as well as virulent anti-immigration rhetoric, which gained a large increase in support from the Greek electorate.[23] It received 7% of the popular vote, enough for the party to enter the Hellenic Parliament for the first time with 21 seats.[24] Following a second election in June, this was reduced to 18 seats.

Following an investigation into the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas in September 2013, Michaloliakos and several other Golden Dawn MPs and members were arrested and charged with forming a criminal organization.[25]

History[edit]

1980–2005[edit]

Cover of the first issue of Chrysi Avgi magazine, December 1980

In December 1980, Nikolaos Michaloliakos and a group of supporters launched Chrysi Avgi magazine. Michaloliakos had been active in far-right politics for many years, having been arrested several times for politically motivated offences, such as beatings and illegal possession of explosive materials, which led to his discharge from the military.[26][27][28] While he was in prison, Michaloliakos met the leaders of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974 and laid the foundations of the Golden Dawn party.[27] According to the newspaper Eleftherotypia the characteristics of the magazine and the organisation were clearly National Socialist.[26] Chrysi Avgi magazine ceased publication in April 1984, when Michaloliakos joined the National Political Union and took over the leadership of its youth section.[27] In January 1985, he broke away from the National Political Union and founded the Popular National Movement – Golden Dawn, which was officially recognised as a political party in 1993.[27]

Golden Dawn remained largely on the margins of far-right politics until the Macedonia naming dispute in 1991 and 1992.[26] The Greek newspaper Eleftherotypia reported that on October 10, 1992, about 30 Golden Dawn members attacked students at the Athens University of Economics and Business during a massive demonstration against the use of the name Macedonia by the Republic of Macedonia.[29] Around the same time, the first far-right street gangs appeared under the leadership of Giannis Giannopoulos, a former military officer who was involved with the South African Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) during the 1980s.[26] After the events of 1991 and 1992, Golden Dawn had gained a stable membership of more than 200 members, and Giannopoulos rose within the party hierarchy.[26] Golden Dawn ran in the 1994 European Parliament election, gaining 7,264 votes nationwide; 0.1% of the votes cast.[30]

During the 1980s the party embraced Hellenic Neopagan beliefs, praised the Twelve Olympians and described Marxism and liberalism as "the ideological carriers of Judeo-Christianity."[31] The party went through ideological changes later and welcomed Greek Orthodox Christianity.[32]

A number of Golden Dawn members participated during the Bosnian War in the Greek Volunteer Guard (GVG), which was part of the Drina Corps of the Army of Republika Srpska. A few GVG volunteers were present in Srebrenica during the Srebrenica massacre, and they raised a Greek flag at a ruined church after the fall of the town.[33] Spiros Tzanopoulos, a GVG sergeant who took part in the attack against Srebrenica, said many of the Greek volunteers participated in the war because they were members of Golden Dawn.[34] Golden Dawn members in the GVG were decorated by Radovan Karadžić, but, according to Charis Kousoumvris, a former member of Golden Dawn, those who were decorated, later left the party.[34]

In April 1996, Giannopoulos represented the party at a pan-European convention of far-right nationalist parties in Moscow, where he presented a bust of Alexander the Great to Liberal Democratic Party of Russia leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky for his birthday.[26] Golden Dawn participated in the 1996 legislative election in September, receiving 4,487 votes nationwide; 0.07% of the votes cast.[35] In October 1997, Giannopoulos published an article in Chrysi Avgi magazine calling for nationalist vigilantism against immigrants and liberals.[36] In 1998, a prominent party member, Antonios Androutsopoulos, assaulted Dimitris Kousouris, a left-wing student activist. The resulting media attention, along with internal party conflicts (due to poor results in the 1996 elections), led some of its most extreme members to gradually fade from official party affairs.[26]

Androutsopoulos finally surrendered in 2005 and was convicted of the attempted murder of Kousouris and another two left-wing activists, for which he received a 21-year prison term. The rest of the members of the squad that hit Kousouris were never legally prosecuted. In March 2009, Androutsopoulos appealed his sentence and received 12 years, to be finally released from prison a few months later. Meanwhile, Golden Dawn continued to hold rallies and marches, and it ran in the 1999 European election in an alliance with the Front Line party, gaining 48,532 votes nationwide; 0.75% of the votes cast.[26][37] In 2005, Eleftherotypia reported that Golden Dawn members distributed homophobic flyers during the first pride parade held in Athens.[38] Michaloliakos has characterized homosexuals as a part of Greek society that he does not consider "normal".[39]

2005 and later[edit]

Golden Dawn demonstration in 2012, with some of the demonstrators carrying a sign reading "You will find me dead for Greece! - Honor and glory to our dead - Target"

According to Golden Dawn's leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, the party suspended its own autonomous political activities after 1 December 2005 because of clashes with anarchists.[40] Golden Dawn members were instructed to continue their activism within the Patriotic Alliance party, which was very closely linked to Golden Dawn.[41][42] The former leader of Patriotic Alliance, Dimitrios Zaphiropoulos, was once a member of Golden Dawn's political council, and Michaloliakos became a leading member of Patriotic Alliance.[27] There were accusations that the "Patriotic Alliance" was simply the new name of Golden Dawn.[43] Activities by Patriotic Alliance's members were often attributed to Golden Dawn (even by themselves), creating confusion.[42] This is the main reason Golden Dawn's members announced the withdrawal of their support of the Patriotic Alliance, which eventually led to the interruption of Golden Dawn's political activities.[44][45] In March 2007, Golden Dawn held its sixth congress and announced the resumption of their political and ideological activism.[46][third-party source needed]

In May 2012, WordPress shut down Golden Dawn's official website and blog due to death threats against Xenia Kounalaki, a journalist.[47][48][49] Golden Dawn launched a new website a few days later.

Activism[edit]

Golden Dawn claimed to have local organisations in 32 Greek cities, as well as in Cyprus.[50]

The party created the "Committee of National Memory" (Επιτροπή Εθνικής Μνήμης, Epitropí Ethnikís Mnímis), to organise demonstrations commemorating the anniversaries of certain Greek national events. Since 1996, the Committee of National Memory has organized an annual march, usually on 31 January in Athens, in memory of three Greek officers who died during the Imia military crisis. According to the European National Front website, the march in 2006 was attended by 2,500 people, although no neutral sources have confirmed that number. The Committee of National Memory has continued its activities, and a march took place on 31 January 2010.[51][52][third-party source needed]

The Committee of National Memory has organized annual rallies on 17 June in Thessalonica, in memory of Alexander the Great.[53] Police confronted the participants of the rally of 2006, forcing Golden Dawn and Patriotic Alliance members to leave the area after conflicts with leftist groups.[53][54] Later that day, Golden Dawn members gathered in the building of state-owned television channel ERT3 and held a protest as they tried to stop the channel from broadcasting.[54] Police surrounded the building and arrested 48 Golden Dawn members.[53][54]

In September 2005, Golden Dawn attempted to organise a festival called "Eurofest 2005 – Nationalist Summer Camp" at the grounds of a Greek summer camp. The planned festival depended on the participation of the German National Democratic Party of Germany, the Italian Forza Nuova and the Romanian Noua Dreaptă, as well as Spanish and American far-right groups. The festival was banned by the government.[55][56]

In June 2007, Golden Dawn sent representatives to protest against the G8 convention in Germany, together with the National Democratic Party of Germany and other European far-right organisations.[57][third-party source needed]

In June 2011, Foreign Policy reported that in the midst of the 2010–2011 Greek protests, gangs of Golden Dawn members were increasingly being seen in some of the higher-crime areas of Athens.[58] In May 2012, the BBC reported on how Golden Dawn had become sort of a local 'Robin Hood' in some high-immigration areas of Athens,[59] since the party was developing a social program which included the delivery of free or minimal cost food among the most unfavored strata of ethnic Greeks.[60][61] The party offers protection for victims of crime, a service that has been appreciated by citizens and utilized by the police, which refers Athenians to the Golden Dawn for help, especially when immigrant crime is involved. The party, however, demands allegiance in return for their service.[62]

Youth Front[edit]

Golden Dawn's Youth Front has distributed fliers with nationalist messages in Athens schools and organised the concert series Rock Against Communism. It publishes the white nationalist magazine Resistance Hellas-Antepithesi. The magazine is a sister publication of the United States-based National Alliance's Resistance magazine.[63][third-party source needed]

Political representation[edit]

In May 2009, Golden Dawn took part in the European elections, receiving 23,564 votes corresponding to 0.5% of the total votes.[64] In 2010 it won 5.3% of the vote in Athens. In that election, the party won its first municipal council seat[65] and entered parliament for the first time in 2012. In the Greek parliamentary elections of May 2012, the party received 6.97% of the popular vote. In the rerun of the elections in June 2012,[66] their share of the vote was 6.92%.[67]

Electoral results[edit]

Parliament[edit]

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
1996 4,537 0.1 (#14)
0 / 300
2009 19,636 0.29 (#10)
0 / 300
2012 (May) 440,966 6.97 (#6)
21 / 300
Increase 21
2012 (Jun) 426,025 6.92 (#5)
18 / 300
Decrease 3

European Parliament[edit]

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
1994 7,242 0.1%
0 / 25
2009 23,566 0.5%
0 / 22
2014 536,442 9.40%
3 / 21
Increase 3

Violent Actions[edit]

Members of Golden Dawn have been accused of carrying out acts of violence and hate crimes against immigrants, political opponents, LGBT people and ethnic minorities.[68] Golden Dawn's offices have been attacked repeatedly by anarchists and leftists[56][69] and clashes between members of Golden Dawn and leftists have not been unusual.[70]

In January 1998, Alexis Kalofolias, the vocalist of the band The Last Drive, was attacked and suffered permanent damage to his right eye, losing 2% of his eyesight.[68][71] KLIK magazine and the newspaper Eleftherotypia, which is affiliated with left-wing politics,[72] reported that members of Golden Dawn were responsible for the attack.[68][71]

In 2000, unknown suspects vandalized the Monastirioton synagogue, a memorial for Holocaust victims and Jewish cemeteries in Thessaloniki and Athens.[73] There were claims that Golden Dawn's symbols were present at all four sites.[73] The KIS, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, the Coalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology, the Greek Helsinki Monitor and others issued statements condemning these acts.[74][75] The Cyprus chapter of Golden Dawn has been accused of attacks against Turkish Cypriots, and one member was arrested for attacking Turkish-Cypriots in 2005.[76]

Football hooliganism[edit]

On 6 October 1999, during a football match between Greece and Albania in Athens, Albanian supporters burnt a Greek flag in their stand. This act was captured and broadcast extensively by the Greek media, leading to a series of angry reactions by Greek nationalists against foreign immigrants. In a specific case, on the night of 22 October, Pantelis Kazakos, a nationalist and a member of the Golden Dawn,[77][78][79] said he felt "insulted by the burning of the Greek flag" and shot and killed two people and wounded seven others in an attack in central Athens. All of the victims were immigrants, and four of the wounded remain paralysed. Other Golden Dawn members, feeling also "insulted by the burning of the Greek flag", formed the hooligan firm Galazia Stratia (Greek for "Blue Army"). It has described itself as a "fan club of the Greek national teams" and its goal as "to defend Greek national pride inside the stadiums." It has been reported that following Golden Dawn's official disbandment in 2005, many former party members have put most of their energy into promoting Galazia Stratia.[80] Galazia Stratia is closely linked to Golden Dawn, and the two groups shared the same street address.[81] Golden Dawn made no attempt to deny the connections, openly praising the actions of Galazia Stratia in its newspaper, and accepting praise in return from the firm.[82]

Galazia Stratia and Golden Dawn have been accused of various acts of sports-related violence.[81] In September 2004, after a football match between Greece and Albania in Tirana (which Greece lost 2–1), Albanian immigrants living in Greece went out on the streets of Athens and other cities to celebrate the victory. Greek hooligans felt provoked by this and violence erupted against Albanian immigrants in various parts of Greece, resulting in the murder of an Albanian in Zakynthos and many others being injured. Golden Dawn and Galazia Stratia were proven to be directly responsible for many of the attacks. According to Eleftherotypia, Galazia Stratia members severely assaulted a Palestinian and a Bangladeshi during celebrations following the success of the Greek national basketball team at the 2006 FIBA World Championship.[80]

Periandros case[edit]

Antonios Androutsopoulos (aka Periandros), a prominent member of Golden Dawn, was a fugitive from 1998 to 14 September 2005 after being accused of the attempted murder on 16 June 1998 of three left-wing students – including Dimitris Kousouris, who was badly injured.[83][84][85] Androutsopoulos had been sentenced in absentia to four years of prison for illegal weapon possession while the attempted murder charges against him were still standing.[86]

The authorities' failure to apprehend Androutsopoulos for seven years prompted criticism by the Greek media. An article in Ta Nea claimed that Periandros remained in Greece and evaded arrest because of his connections with the police.[83] In an interview in 2004, Michalis Chrisochoidis, the former minister of public order and a member of PASOK, claimed that such accusations were unfounded, and he blamed the inefficiency of the Greek police. Some allege that Androutsopoulos had evaded arrest because he had been residing in Venezuela until 2005 when he turned himself in.[87] His trial began on 20 September 2006, and he was convicted to 21 years in prison on 25 September 2006.[88][89] Golden Dawn members were present at his trial, shouting nationalist slogans; he reportedly hailed them using the Nazi salute.[88]

Imia 2008[edit]

On 2 February 2008, Golden Dawn planned to hold the annual march for the twelfth anniversary of the Imia military crisis. Anti-fascist groups organised a protest in order to cancel the march, as a response to racist attacks supposedly caused by Golden Dawn members. Golden Dawn members occupied the square in which the march was to take place, and when anti-fascists showed up, clashes occurred. During the riots that followed, Golden Dawn members were seen attacking the anti-fascists with riot police doing nothing to stop them and actually letting them pass through their lines. This led to two people being stabbed and another two wounded by rocks. There were allegations that Golden Dawn members even carried police equipment with them and that Golden Dawn's equipment was carried inside a police van.[90][91]

Bomb attacks on Golden Dawn offices[edit]

On November 2005, Golden Dawn's offices were attacked by a group of Anarchists with molotov cocktails and stones. There were gunshots, and two people (who testified that they were just passing by) were injured.[69] According to Golden Dawn, three suspects were arrested and set free.[56] During the subsequent police investigation, leftovers from molotov cocktails were discovered in Golden Dawn's offices.[69] Golden Dawn has stated that this was the reason for the organisation's disbandment.[40][41]

On 19 March 2010, a bomb described by police as of "moderate power" was detonated in the fifth floor office of Golden Dawn, in downtown Athens. Twenty-five minutes prior to the blast, an unidentified caller contacted a local newspaper in order to announce the attack. The targeted building and the surrounding area were evacuated in response. The explosion caused substantial property damage but no casualties. The office reopened on 10 April 2010.[92]

On 4 December 2012, a makeshift bomb containing dynamite exploded at Golden Dawn's office building in Aspropyrgos, a suburb of Athens. The explosion caused significant damage to two floors but produced no casualties.[93]

On 13 February 2013 an improvised bomb exploded in the regional office of Golden Dawn in Piraeus. The explosion and the subsequent fire caused material damage. Next morning a similar improvised bomb exploded outside the offices of Golden Dawn in the city of Larissa, central Greece. The explosion caused only material damage.[94]

Liana Kanelli assault and reactions[edit]

On 7 June 2012, Golden Dawn spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris slapped Communist MP Liana Kanelli about the head three times during a live debate on the morning show Proino ANT1; she had hit him with a newspaper and swore at him during commercial breaks. Kasidiaris was subsequently locked in a room by the staff of the ANT1 TV station but knocked down the door and left. Greek prosecutors issued an arrest warrant.[95] Golden Dawn blamed Kanelli for the incident. The incident resulted in several protests against Golden Dawn in Athens and other Greek cities. Political analyst Theodore Couloumbis told Reuters that the incident could cost Golden Dawn votes, especially among women, though other experts were of the opinion that images of violence could play in their favour—a Facebook page dedicated to Kasidiaris picked up 6,000 'likes' within 24 hours.[96]

Murder of Pavlos Fyssas[edit]

In September 2013, a 35-year-old man who according to Greek police had ties to the far left communist party and then moved to Golden Dawn was arrested for murder after Pavlos Fyssas, known as hip-hop artist Killah P, was stabbed twice following a brawl in Piraeus. The police later raided Golden Dawn offices in Athens. The party denies any connection to the alleged murder.[97] An ongoing investigation has since confirmed that the man was in contact with party members prior to and at the time of the murder.[98] A subsequent police crackdown led to raids on Golden Dawn offices and the arrests of several party members, including party leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos, who was imprisoned as a result of owning the office phone to which an alleged telephone call associated with the murder was received.[99] [100]

2013 shooting of Golden Dawn members[edit]

On 1 November 2013, Golden Dawn members Giorgos Fountoulis and Manos Kapelonis were shot dead outside the party's offices in Neo Irakleio, a northern suburb of Athens. A third, Alexandros Gerontas, was severely injured. Police described the event as a terrorist attack.[101] Golden Dawn claimed that police protection of the building had been withdrawn shortly before the attack.[102] Two weeks later, the anarchist group "The Fighting People's Revolutionary Powers" claimed responsibility for what it described as the "political executions of the fascist members of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party".[103]

Allegations of connections to the Greek police[edit]

In an interview with Eleftherotypia in 1998, Minister for Public Order Georgios Romaios (PASOK) alleged the existence of "fascist elements in the Hellenic Police", and vowed to suppress them.[104] In a TV interview that same year, Romaios again claimed that there was a pro-fascist group within the police force, although he said it was not organized and was only involved in isolated incidents.[105] The same year, Eleftherotypia published an article which outlined connections between the police and neo-fascism.[106] Dimitris Reppas, the PASOK government spokesman, strongly denied such connections. However, the article quoted a speech by the PASOK Member of Parliament Paraskevas Paraskevopoulos about a riot caused by right-wing extremists, in which he said:

"In Thessaloniki it is widely discussed that far-right organisations are active in the security forces. Members of such organisations were the planners and chief executioners of the riot and nobody was arrested. A Special Forces officer, speaking at a briefing of Special Forces policemen who were to be on duty that day, told the policemen not to arrest anyone because the rioters were not enemies and threatened that should this be overlooked there would be penalties."[105]

Before the surrender of Androutsopoulos, an article in the newspaper Ta Nea claimed that the Golden Dawn had close relationships with some parts of the Greek police force.[83] In relation to the Periandros case, the article quoted an unidentified police officer who said that "half the force wanted Periandros arrested and the other half didn't". The article claimed that there was a confidential internal police investigation which concluded that:

  1. Golden Dawn had very good relations and contacts with officers of the force, on and off duty, as well as with rank and file police.
  2. The police provided the group with batons and radio communications equipment during mass demonstrations, mainly during celebrations of the Athens Polytechnic uprising and during rallies by left-wing and anarchist groups, in order to provoke riots.
  3. Periandros and the group's connections with the force largely delayed his arrest.
  4. Periandros's brother, also a member of Golden Dawn, was a security escort of an unnamed New Democracy MP.
  5. Many Golden Dawn members were illegally carrying an assortment of weapons.

The newspaper published a photograph of a typewritten paragraph with no identifiable insignia as evidence of the secret investigation.[107] In the article, the Minister for Public Order, Michalis Chrysochoidis, responded that he did not recollect such an investigation. Chrysochoidis also denied accusations that far-right connections within the police force delayed the arrest of Periandros. He said that leftist groups, including the ultra-left anti-state resistance group 17 November, responsible for several murders, had similarly evaded the police for decades. In both cases, he attributed the failures to "stupidity and incompetence" on behalf of the force.[83]

In more recent years, anti-fascist and left-wing groups have claimed that many of Golden Dawn's members have close relations and/or collaborated with Greece's Central Intelligence Service, the predecessor to the National Intelligence Service, and accused Michaloliakos of working for the KYP from the 1980s. The evidence for this is a payslip showing the names of both Michaloliakos and Konstantinos Plevris as operating for the agency, which Golden Dawn has claimed is a forgery.[108]

In July 2012, it was reported that Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, had placed the alleged ties of Greek police and Golden Dawn under scrutiny,[109] following reports of the Greek state's continued failure to acknowledge the problem.[110][111] In an interview he gave on 2 February 2013 to Ta Nea, Muižnieks stated that he had collected strong evidence of ties between the police and the party.[112] According to the political analyst Paschos Mandravelis, "A lot of the party's backing comes from the police, young recruits who are apolitical and know nothing about the Nazis or Hitler. For them, Golden Dawn supporters are their only allies on the frontline when there are clashes between riot police and leftists."[62]

After the Greek Parliamentary elections of 6 May 2012, it became known that more than one out of two Greek police officers voted for Golden Dawn in some districts.[113] Polling stations surrounding the Attica General Police Directorate in the Athens A constituency, where on-duty police officers are known to have voted, reported slightly more than 20% support for the party, whereas "civilian" polling stations in the constituency reported support of around 6%. The total percentage of Golden Dawn votes in Athens A was 7.8%. A police official stated that support for the party was high and growing among the police, as well as in the branches of the military.[114]

  • A police officer has been suspended pending investigation while seven others have been identified for taking part in Golden Dawn raid against stalls (10 September 2012) operated by migrants at an open-market in Missolonghi.[115]
  • Following repeated attacks against the Tanzanian community around Amerikis Square in Athens, for which the police failed to make any arrests, an anti-fascist protest was held, leading to clashes between anti-fascist groups and Golden Dawn. The police arrested anti-fascists, and it has been reported that the police used torture during their detention in the Central Police Headquarters in Athens. Victims reported that police threatened the protesters that their home addresses would be given to Golden Dawn. (30 September 2012).[116]
  • Members of Golden Dawn, along with priests and ultrareligious Orthodox believers, gathered outside the Chytirio Theatre in Athens to condemn Terrence McNally's "blasphemous" play Corpus Christi, which was due to be performed there. They allegedly chased and beat a journalist for taking pictures of the demonstration, while his call for help went unanswered by police officers who were present.[117][118] According to other reports Golden Dawn lawmaker Christos Pappas entered the police van and released one of four detainees (11 October 2012).[119][120][121]

Allegations of Nazism[edit]

The Golden Dawn banner consists of a Greek meander in a style and color scheme which has been compared to the Nazi Party banner.

The party is regularly described as neo-Nazi by news media and academic sources,[10][13][122] and members are frequently responsible for anti-semitic graffiti.[123] The party denies that it has any official connection to Neo-Nazism. Although it uses the Roman salute, a salute used by the Italian Fascist and German National Socialist movements, it draws its inspiration in this primarily from the 4th of August Regime established by Ioannis Metaxas, the Greek nationalist leader and dictator, whose National Youth Organization (Greece) (and later, his entire government) adopted upon taking power. Ioannis Metaxas was the dictator of Greece from 1936 to 1940, when an invasion by the Axis Powers defeated his regime after he refused to surrender. Ohi Day, or "No Day", the anniversary of Metaxas' refusal to surrender to accept Italian Fascist dicator Benito Mussolini's demand for surrender, is still a celebrated holiday in Greece. Likewise, the Golden Dawn's meander symbol, while sometimes compared to the National Socialist Swastika, is a symbol drawn from Greek art, which the Golden Dawn sees as representing bravery and eternal struggle.[15][124]

Ilias Kasidiaris, a spokesman for Golden Dawn, wrote an article that was published in Golden Dawn magazine on 20 April 2011, in which he said, "What would the future of Europe and the whole modern world be like if World War II hadn't stopped the renewing route of National Socialism? Certainly, fundamental values which mainly derive from ancient Greek culture, would be dominant in every state and would define the fate of peoples. Romanticism as a spiritual movement and classicism would prevail against the decadent subculture that corroded the white man. Extreme materialism would have been discarded, giving its place to spiritual exaltation". In the same article, Adolf Hitler is characterized as a "great social reformer" and "military genius".[125]

In an article published in 1987 in the Golden Dawn magazine titled "Hitler for 1000 years", its editor Michaloliakos showed his support for Nazism and white supremacy.[126] Specifically he wrote, "We are the faithful soldiers of the National Socialist idea and nothing else" and "[...] WE EXIST, and continue the battle, the battle for the final victory of our race".[126] He ends the article by writing "1987, 42 years later, with our thought and soul given to the last great battle, with our thought and soul given to the black and red banners, with our thought and soul given to the memory of our great Leader, we raise our right hand up, we salute the Sun and with the courage, that is compelled by our military honor and our National Socialist duty we shout full of passion, faith to the future and our visions: HEIL HITLER!".[126] Furthermore he uses capital letters for pronouns referring to Hitler ("by Himself", "His people").[126]

On 17 August 1987 Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party, committed suicide in Spandau Prison. The following day on 18 August 1987 Golden Dawn members distributed proclamations in the center of Athens with the phrase RUDOLF HESS IMMORTAL (Greek: RUDOLF HESS ΑΘΑΝΑΤΟΣ).[127]

In pictures taken during the first congress of Golden Dawn in February 1990, the congress hall is decorated with the Swastika and the Wolfsangel.[128]

There are many cases in which Golden Dawn members have appeared to give a Nazi salute.[129][130][131] The founder of the party, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, appeared to give a Nazi salute in the Athens city council. He claims that it was merely "the salute of the national youth organisation of Ioannis Metaxas".[124][132] The party states its logo is a traditional Greek meander, not a Nazi symbol.[133]

In May 2012, Golden Dawn ran in Greek elections under the slogan "So we can rid this land of filth".[134] On his post-election statement, the leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, had placed a marble eagle on an obvious position on his desk, which according to media reports bears similarity to the eagle of the Nazi Third Reich.[135] After the elections, Eleni Zaroulia, a Golden Dawn MP, wore an iron cross ring during her inauguration, a symbol which has been associated with Nazism.[136] As depicted in a picture taken on 14 September 2012, Panagiotis Iliopoulos, another Golden Dawn MP, has a tattoo reading the Nazi greeting Sieg Heil.[137]

On 23 July 2012, Artemis Matthaiopoulos, a member of Golden Dawn, was elected as MP for the town of Serres. The website left.gr (associated with SYRIZA), reported that Matthaiopoulos was the frontman of the Nazi punk band "Pogrom" and pointed to the band's song "Auschwitz" with antisemitic lyrics such as "fuck Anne Frank" and "Juden raus" ("Jews out").[138][139]

Ilias Kasidiaris quoted the antisemitic hoax The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in a speech to parliament on 23 October 2012. Defending himself in a discussion on whether to lift his parliamentary immunity over his assault of Kanelli, he quoted Protocol 19: "In order to destroy the prestige of heroism we shall send them for trial in the category of theft, murder and every kind of abominable and filthy crime."[140] Moreover, Kasidiaris bears a swastika tattoo on his arm.[141]

Golden Dawn's leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, denied the existence of gas chambers and ovens at Nazi extermination camps.[142][143] On 6 June 2013, the Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris implied during a stormy debate in the Greek Parliament that he is a Holocaust denier.[144]

Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens has criticized Golden Dawn, stating: "The Church loves all people, whether they are black, white or non-Christians."[145]

In April 2014, Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panagiotaros described Hitler as a "great personality, like Stalin" and denounced homosexuality as a "sickness". Panagiotaros also described most immigrant Muslims to Greece as, "Jihadists; fanatic Muslims" and claimed that he supported the concept of a one-race nation, stating, "if you are talking about nation, it is one race".[146]

Views on foreign policy[edit]

Nikolaos Michaloliakos supports a revival of the Megali Idea, the irredentist concept that guided Greece's foreign policy until the Asia Minor Catastrophe:[147]

For two thousand years, the Jews would say a wish during their festivals, "next year in Jerusalem", and ultimately after many centuries they managed to make it a reality. So I too conclude with a wish: Next year in Constantinople, in Smyrna, in Trebizond!

These regions had significant Greek populations until the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in the 1920s. Michaloliakos has criticized Thessaloniki mayor Yiannis Boutaris for wanting to name a street after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who was born in the city.[21][148]

In January 2013, a group of Golden Dawn supporters attacked the car of Turkish consul-general Osman İlhan Şener in Komotini during an anti-Turkey protest. The party members also insulted Atatürk during the attack.[149]

Golden Dawn promotes a hardline stance on the Macedonia naming dispute, rejecting any compromise solution that would include the term Macedonia in the name of the former Yugoslav republic.[150] Mihaloliakos has also called for the "liberation" of Northern Epirus, which is today part of southern Albania, has a Greek minority and is claimed by Greek irredentists. Golden Dawn and its Cypriot counterpart ELAM support enosis, the annexation of Cyprus by Greece.

Election advertisements for Golden Dawn have depicted the burning of U.S. and Israeli flags, a reflection of the party's strong anti-American and anti-Zionist position.[151] Golden Dawn is also staunchly eurosceptic, opposing Greece's participation in the European Union and the eurozone.[152][153]

Literature[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]