Greece: Elections, the black shadow of 'Golden Dawn'

Far-right party soars in the polls driven by fear and crisis

03 May, 16:42

Rally against Golden Dawn at Greek Parliament: Rally against Golden Dawn at Greek Parliament: "No nazis in the Parliament".

(ANSAmed) - ROME - A black shadow is rising over the Greek elections: the extreme-right party of Chrysi Avgi, literally "Golden Dawn", a name which bears a luminous symbol but whose ideas originate instead from a rather dark past. This is a faction which goes proud of presenting itself with thinly-veiled neo-nazi symbols and whose programme, due to the growing crisis, immigration and general fear, many Greeks seem to find attractive: that is, the hard-line against crime, expulsion of illegal immigrants, all in the name of a "clean" Greece.

Militants of Chrysi Avgi are dressed in black, have their heads shaven and boast an all too familiar logo (the Greek "meander" of which Chrysi Avgi's version resembles a swastika) and are tireless in bringing forth their message of a secure and clean society with thousands of flyers sent round those areas of Athens where crime is on the rise and residents are exasperated.

They distribute food, clothes and shoes to the poor. Their proposals are very precise, such as putting landmines on Greece's borders in order to stop immigrants from entering (90% of illegal immigration towards the EU passes through Greece).

They oppose themselves to traditional parties and believe that "the people responsible for the crisis must remain in jail". The result is that polls appear to favour them: Chrysi Avgi , after 20 years at the margins of Greek politics, should probably gain 5% of the votes in the May 6 elections, compared to the 0.23% of 2009. In order to enter parliament all a party needs is 3%.

Golden Dawn are presenting 220 candidates in these elections.

The groups for the defence of migrants are accusing the members of Chrysi Avgi to have beat up several foreigners, also UNHCR in Greece reports an increase in racist aggressions, although every question on the use of violence is handily avoided: " We do nothing more than protect Greeks" said one of the party's candidates Epaminondas Anyfantis in a recent interview. "Now, if in protecting Greeks a foreigner gets a slap or a kick, I believe it's all part of the plan for protection... simply because Greeks by now have to turn to Golden Dawn for protection. We're not politicians, we're soldiers who are fighting for a cause." If accused of simply being masqueraded neo-nazis, the militants of Chrysi Avgi reply saying that they are simply "nationalist Greeks" and that many of their fathers took part in the resistance against the Nazis. Their leader Nikolas Mihaloliakos, who in 2010 won a seat in the Athens council, shocked the public by making a fascist salute at his first appearance in the committee. Later, he was quoted with statements such as "Hitler is one of the great personalities of history", whereas in a video in support of his electoral campaign, he affirmed his intention to reintroduce the death penalty for drug dealers and to ban trade unions. Extremist messages which, in this extreme situation for many Greeks, could gather an unexpected popular support. (ANSAmed).

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