Greek PM to crack down on neo-Nazi party after anti-fascist singer's murder
Greek PM tells nation that government will take action against Golden Dawn as the country seethes over the murder of anti-fascist singer
Greece's prime minister yesterday vowed to rein in the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party after the murder of an anti-fascist singer by one of its supporters sparked nationwide outrage.
"This government is determined not to allow the descendants of the Nazis to poison our social life, to commit crimes, terrorise and undermine the foundations of the country that gave birth to democracy," Antonis Samaras said in a televised address.
The murder early on Wednesday of popular hip hop artist Pavlos Fyssas, who wrote music under the nickname Killah P, led to mounting calls for a check on the party's activities.
Many experts have argued that current legislation would make it difficult to slap an outright ban on Golden Dawn, a measure that could be challenged as undemocratic after the party picked up over 400,000 votes in the last election.
Nevertheless, the government spokesman yesterday said steps would be taken to expose the group's "criminal" acts and isolate it.
"The law will be applied and we believe that this will be the conclusion," Simos Kedikoglou, a government spokesman, told Skai television.
"Starting from the perpetrators, we will (address) the organisation's structure and how it essentially encouraged criminal acts. A simple ban is not enough," Kedikoglou said.
As the Greek press called for tighter control of Golden Dawn, whose provocative behaviour has escalated in recent months, rights groups faulted the authorities for allowing the group to operate with near-impunity.
"The cold-blooded murder of a citizen by a Golden Dawn supporter must awaken everyone," the liberal newspaper Kathimerini said in an editorial. "There must be zero tolerance towards the criminal activity of this neo-Nazi organisation," it said.
The calls came a day after police and protesters clashed as thousands demonstrated against far-right extremism.
The 34-year-old, who was laid to rest yesterday, was fatally stabbed in the working-class Athens district of Keratsini the previous day by a 45-year-old truck driver, George Roupakias, who later allegedly confessed his Golden Dawn affiliation to police.
The victim's family said that Fyssas and a small group of friends were ambushed by a large gang of Golden Dawn supporters outside a cafeteria.
Golden Dawn quickly denied links with the killer, but pictures soon surfaced of Roupakias participating in party activities
The Greek human-rights league said yesterday that the neo-Nazi group's acts of violence were escalating "with impunity".
"The stance of Greek authorities betrays tolerance or distance owing to fear," the league said.