Golden Dawn (political party)
|Founded||1 November 1993|
|Youth wing||Youth Front|
|European affiliation||European National Front|
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Chrysi Avyi is also the name of a newspaper and a magazine published by the organization.
Golden Dawn ceased political operations in 2005, and it was absorbed by the Patriotic Alliance, which ceased operations after Michaloliakos withdrew support. In March 2007, Golden Dawn held its sixth congress, where Party officials announced the resumption of their political activism. At local elections on November 7, 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 big immigrant communities it even reached 20%.
Golden Dawn described itself as a "People's Nationalist Movement" and "uncompromising Nationalists." Michaloliakos described Golden Dawn as opposing the "so-called Enlightenment" and the Industrial Revolution. According to the Party's charter, "only Aryans in blood and Greeks in descent can be candidate members of Golden Dawn". The charter also puts the leader in total control of the party, and formalizes the use of the Hitlergruss for party members. At first, the party embraced neo-Pagan beliefs, in accordance to Nazi occultism, describing Marxism and liberalism as "the ideological carriers of Judeo-Christianity."[third-party source needed] Later, however, the party underwent ideological changes, embracing Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
In December 1980, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, and a group of his supporters launched Chrysi Avyi magazine. Michaloliakos (a mathematician and a dishonourably discharged former commando reservist officer) had been active in far right politics for many years, and he had been arrested several times for politically motivated offences, such as beating attacks and illegal possession of explosive materials, which led to his discharge from the military. While he was in prison, Michaloliakos met the leaders of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974, and he laid the foundations of the Hrisi Avgi party. The characteristics of the magazine and the organisation were clearly National Socialist. Chrysi Avyi magazine stopped being published in April 1984, when Michaloliakos joined the National Political Union and took over the leadership of its youth section. In January 1985, he broke away from the National Political Union and founded the Popular National Movement – Chrysi Avyi, which was officially recognised as a political party in 1993.
Golden Dawn remained largely on the margins of far right politics until the Macedonia naming dispute in 1991 and 1992. The Greek newspaper Eleftherotypia reported that on October 10, 1992, about thirty Golden Dawn members attacked left-wing students at the Athens University of Economics and Business during a massive demonstration against the use of the name Macedonia by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. 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. 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. Golden Dawn ran in the 1994 European Parliament election, gaining 7.264 votes nationwide; 0.11% of the votes cast.
A few Golden Dawn members participated in 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. 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. Golden Dawn members in the GVG were decorated by Radovan Karadžić, but — according to former Golden Dawn member Charis Kousoumvris — those who were decorated later left the party.
In April 1996, Giannopoulos represented the party at a pan-European convention of 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. Golden Dawn participated in the 1996 legislative election in September, receiving 4,487 votes nationwide; 0.07% of the votes cast. In October 1997, Giannopoulos published an article in Chrysi Avyi magazine calling for nationalist vigilantism against immigrants and left wingers. In 1998, a prominent party member, Antonios Androutsopoulos, assaulted left wing student activist Dimitris Kousouris. The resulting media attention, along with internal party conflicts (due to poor results in the 1996 elections), led some of its most extreme members (such as Giannopoulos) to gradually fade from official party affairs.
Golden Dawn continued to hold rallies and marches, and it ran in the 1999 European Parliament election in an alliance with the Front Line party, gaining 48,532 votes nationwide; 0.75% of the votes cast. Eleftherotypia criticicized Chrysi Avyi in 2005 after party members distributed homophobic fliers during an Athens gay pride parade.
2005 and later
According to Golden Dawn's leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, the party paused its own autonomous political activities after December 1, 2005, due to clashes with anti-fascists. Golden Dawn members had been instructed to continue their activism within the Patriotic Alliance party, which was very closely linked to Golden Dawn. 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. Anti-fascist groups had accused the Patriotic Alliance of simply being the new name of Golden Dawn. Activities by Patriotic Alliance's members were often attributed to Golden Dawn (even by themselves), creating confusion. 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.
In March 2007, Golden Dawn held its sixth congress and announced the continuation of their political and ideological activism. As of 2010, Golden Dawn's newspaper and magazine continue to be published, and the organisation's website is being updated.
The party created the Epitropi Ethnikis Mnimis (Committee of National Memory), to organise demonstrations commemorating the anniversaries of certain Greek national events. Since 1996, Epitropi Ethnikis Mninis organizes an annual march usually on January 31 in Athens, in memory of three Greek officers who died during the Imia military crisis. According to the European National Front website, the 2006 march was attended by 2,500 people, although no neutral sources have confirmed that number. Epitropi Ethnikis Mninis has continued its activities, and the January 31 March took place in January 2010.[third-party source needed]
Epitropi Ethnikis Mnimis has organized annual rallies on June 17 in Thessalonica, in memory of Alexander the Great. Police confronted the 2006 rally participants, forcing Golden Dawn and Patriotic Alliance members to leave the area, while anti-fascist and leftist groups took over the square where the nationalist event was supposed to take place, causing damage and vandalisms. Later that day, Golden Dawn members gathered in the building of state-owned television channel ERT3 and protesting they tried to stop the channel from broadcasting. Police surrounded the building and arrested 48 Hrisi Avgi members.
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 neo-Nazi groups. The festival was banned by the government, largely because of the reaction of anti-fascist groups.
In May 2009, Golden Dawn took part in the European Elections receiving 23,564 votes corresponding to 0.46% of the total votes.
Golden Dawn's Youth Front has distributed fliers with nationalist messages in Athens schools and organised white power concerts. It publishes the white nationalist magazine Resistance Hellas-Antepithesi, which promotes National Socialism to young people through articles related to music and sports. The magazine is a sister publication of the United States-based National Alliance's Resistance magazine.[third-party source needed] The collaboration between Greek nationalists and American racialists began in 2001, after National Alliance founder William Luther Pierce visited Thessalonica, Greece. Pierce's successor, Erich Gliebe, ratified the collaboration after Pierce's death.
Violence by and against Golden Dawn
Members of Golden Dawn have been accused of carrying out acts of violence and hate crimes against illegal immigrants, political opponents and ethnic minorities. Golden Dawn's offices have been attacked many times by anarchists and anti-fascists. Clashes between members of Golden Dawn and anti-fascists have not been unusual.
In January 1998, Alexis Kalofolias, vocalist of the band The Last Drive, was attacked and suffered permanent damage to his right eye, losing 2% of his eyesight. KLIK magazine and left wing newspaper Eleftherotypia reported that members of Golden Dawn were responsible for the attack.
In 2000, unknown suspects vandalized the Monastirioton synagogue, a memorial for Holocaust victims and Jewish cemeteries in Thessaloniki and Athens. According to anti-fascist groups, Hrisi Avgi's symbols were present at all four sites. 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. The Cyprus chapter of Hrisi Avgi has been accused of attacks against Turkish Cypriots, and one member was arrested for attacking Turkish-Cypriots in 2005.
In November 2005, Golden Dawn's offices were attacked by a group of Anarchists with molotov cocktails and stones. Unknown perpetrators responded to the anti-fascists with gunshots, and two people (who testified that they were just passing by) were injured. According to Golden Dawn, three suspects were arrested and set free. During the subsequent police investigation, molotov cocktails left overs were discovered in Golden Dawn's offices. Golden Dawn has stated that this was the reason for the organisation's disbandment.
On October 6, 1999,during a football match between the Greek and Albanian national teams in Athens, Albanian supporters burnt a Greek flag in the tribune of the stadium. This act was captured and broadcast intensively by the Greek media that day and for many days after. That led to a series of angry reactions by Greek nationalists against foreign immigrants. In a specific case, in the night of October 22, Pantelis Kazakos, a nationalist and a member of the Golden Dawn   , feeling as he stated: "insulted by the burning of the Greek flag", shot nine people in the center of Athens. The result from his attack was: two people killed, and seven others wounded, from whom, four remained paralysed for the rest of their lives. All of them were immigrants. Other Golden Dawn members, feeling also "insulted by the burning of the Greek flag", formed the same month (October 2000) the hooligan firm Galazia Stratia (Greek for "Blue Army"), which has described itself as a "fan club of the Greek national teams" and its goal as "to defend the 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. Galazia Stratia is closely linked to Golden Dawn, and the two groups shared the same street address. 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.
Galazia Stratia and Golden Dawn have been accused of various acts of sports-related violence. In September 2004, after a football match between Greece and Albania in Tirana (in which Greece lost 2–1), Albanian immigrants living in Greece went out on the streets of Athens and other cities celebrating their victory, Greek hooligans felt provoked by this and violence erupted against Albanian immigrants in various parts of Greece, resulting in one murdered Albanian in Zakynthos and many other Albanians injured. Anti-fascist groups held Golden Dawn and Galazia Stratia directly responsible for the attacks. According to Eleftherotypia, Galazia Stratia members severely beat a Palestinian and a Bangladeshi during celebrations following the success of the Greek national basketball team at the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
The Periandros case
Antonios Androutsopoulos (better known as Periandros), a prominent member of Golden Dawn, was on the run from 1998 to September 14, 2005 after being accused of the June 16, 1998 attempted murder of three left-wing students — including Dimitris Kousouris, who was heavily injured. 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.
The authorities' failure to apprehend Androutsopoulos for seven years raised criticisms by the Greek media. A Ta Nea article claimed that Periandros remained in Greece and evaded arrest due to connections with the police. In a 2004 interview, Michalis Chrisochoidis, the former minister of public order 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 he turned himself in 2005. His trial began on September 20, 2006, and he was convicted to 21 years in prison on September 25, 2006. Hrisi Avgi members were present in his trial, shouting nationalist slogans, and he reportedly hailed them using the Nazi salute
On February 2, 2008, Golden Dawn planned to hold the annual march for the twelfth anniversary of the Imia military crisis. Leftist and 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 wounded by knife and another two wounded by rocks. Anti-fascists claimed that Chrysi Avyi members even carried police equipment with them and that Golden Dawn's equipment was carried inside a police van.
Bombing of their Athens office
On March 19, 2010, a bomb described by the 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, thus leading to the evacuation of the targeted building and the surrounding area. The explosion caused substantial damage to property, but didn't inflict any casualties. The office was reopened on April 10, 2010.
Allegations of connections to the Greek Police
In a 1998 interview with the newspaper Eleftherotypia, Georgios Romaios (the then Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) Minister for Public Order) alleged the existence of "fascist elements in the Greek police", and vowed to suppress them. 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. The same year, Eleftherotypia published a lengthy article called "The lower limbs of the police", which outlined connections between the police and neo-fascism. Dimitris Reppas, the PASOK government spokesman, strongly denied such connections. However, the article quoted a speech by 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 that 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."
Before the surrender of Androutsopoulos, an article by the newspaper Ta Nea claimed that the Golden Dawn had close relationships with some parts of the Greek police force. 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:
- Golden Dawn had very good relations and contacts with officers of the force, on and off duty, as well as with common policemen.
- 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.
- The connections of the group with the force, as well as connections with Periandros, largely delayed his arrest.
- The brother of "Periandros", also a member of Golden Dawn, was a security escort of an unnamed New Democracy MP.
- Many Golden Dawn members were illegally carrying various kinds of weapons.
The newspaper published a photograph of a typewritten paragraph with no identifiable insignia as evidence of the secret investigation. In the article, the Minister for Public Order, Michalis Chrysochoidis, responded that he did not recollect such a probe. 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.
Golden Dawn stated that rumours about the organisation having connections to the Greek police and the government are untrue, and that the police had intervened in Golden Dawn's rallies and had arrested members of the Party several times while the New Democracy party was in power (for example, during a rally in Thessaloniki in June 2006, and at a rally for the anniversary of the Greek genocide, in Athens, also in 2006). Also, on January 2, 2005, anti-fascist and leftist groups invaded Golden Dawn's headquarters in Thesaloniki, under heavy police surveillance. Although riot police units were near the entrance of the building alongside the intruders, they did not attempt to stop their actions.
In more recent years, anti-fascist and left-wing groups have claimed that a lot of Golden Dawn's members are in close relations (and/or collaborating) with the Greek Central Intelligence Agency (KYP), and also accused the party's general-secretary Nikolaos Michaloliakos of working for the KYP from the 80s. The evidence to this is a public document - a payslip - showing the names of both Michaloliakos and far right author and intellectual Konstantinos Plevris as operating for the agency.
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<ref>tag; name "Vima" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
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<ref>tag; name "ENF_disbandment" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
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<ref>tag; name "48arrested" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
- Σε 48ωρη κινητοποίηση καλούν ΓΣΕΕ και ΑΔΕΔΥ Thessalia 18/6/06 (in Greek)
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