Backlash against Greek far-right as anti-fascist rapper is laid to rest

Golden Dawn party denies a part in the murder of anti-fascist campaigner

Athens

Hundreds of mourners turned out in Athens today for the funeral of a hip-hop artist and anti-fascist campaigner who was killed in an apparently politically motivated attack blamed on the far-right Golden Dawn – an episode that has shocked Greece and prompted calls from politicians for a crackdown on the party.

As family, friends and many strangers paid their respects to 34-year-old Pavlos Fyssas, the country debated how it would deal with the party, which some have accused of increasingly turning to violence.

Late on Tuesday night, Mr Fyssas was stabbed in the chest after leaving a café with friends. Witnesses and friends say the motive of the attack was political, pointing to previous examples where friction between the far-right and left-leaning organisations has resulted in violence.

The death of the young man has deeply shocked the nation, which last year handed Golden Dawn 18 seats in its 300-member parliament.

Speaking on Thursday, Panayotis Fyssas, Pavlos’s father, said he wanted his son’s killer to be executed. “I don’t want him to be tried or jailed, I want him executed. That, for me, is vindication.” He also called for other participants involved in the murder to be arrested as mounting evidence suggests the attack was well-organised.

“Pavlos was very good person, pleasant with everyone and open-minded,” said Lukas, a teenage musician and friend of Pavlos. 

The day after the attack, Greek newspapers were filled with testimonies linking the perpetrator with the far-right party, prompting politicians to point the finger at Golden Dawn.

The party today vehemently rejected any involvement in Pavlos Fyssas’s death. “I would like to remind you – because nonsense was said again... I’d like to remind all of you in here, who pretend to be stupid and not understand, that since the first moment we have condemned this criminal act,” said the party’s spokesman, Ilia Kasidiaris, in parliament. “Our party has absolutely no connection with this act.”

Meanwhile, for the second day running, protests took place in the south-western districts of the Athens area, close to where Mr Fyssas died. The offices of Golden Dawn continued to be raided throughout the country in the search for incriminating evidence while police guarded against groups of youths protesting outside.

Last night’s demonstration in Nikaia was meant to coincide with a planned speech by Nikos Michaloliakos, Golden Dawn’s leader, but the party cancelled the visit so that its opponents could not reap “political benefits” from the death of the musician, according to a statement on Golden Dawn’s website.

Three other men were arrested in connection to the murder, local media reported. Late last night, the Minister of Public Order ordered a meeting with the Prime Minister to decide a strategy to quell violence allegedly being carried out by Golden Dawn supporters.

“We won’t allow the descendants of Nazis to poison our social life and undermine the foundations of the country that gave birth to democracy,” said Antonis Samaras, the Prime Minister, in a televised speech.

Meanwhile, his Public Order Minister handed out a “Golden Dawn dossier” to the prosecutor in an effort to charge some of the party’s members – including MPs – for past acts under the anti-terrorism laws. “All of the state’s mechanism need to be on alert to deal with Golden Dawn,” Nikos Dendias said.

The desire to act against Golden Dawn appeared to spread like wildfire throughout the day today, with constitutional experts and politicians appearing on talk shows to analyse available options on how to curb its activity and reduce its appeal.

A professor of political sciences at Panteion University in Athens who has been studying Golden Dawn for years urged authorities to seize the chance they missed in the past to crack down on the party.

“We must expose the organisation to the people to convince them that it’s embroiled – in a direct or indirect way – in illegal and criminal events – even ban the party,” said Vasiliki Georgiadou. 

A poll published weeks ago suggests that Golden Dawn’s popularity has more than doubled since elections in 2012, making it the country’s third-strongest political party. The staggering increase reflects the electorate’s disgust with mainstream party politicians whom many blame for the country’s woes. But experts say if the government acts smartly its fortunes could be reversed.

According to Ms Georgiadou, although a third of the party’s supporters are hard-core fans, the rest is evenly split between the protest vote – Greeks angry and punishing the established parties – and the so-called “wandering vote”: the part of the electorate that traditionally goes for small parties.

“These voters aren’t extremists or Nazis, nor do they espouse violence,” she explains, adding that they will abandon Golden Dawn if the party’s activities are exposed to be criminal.

Fascist revival: Rise of Europe’s far right

Cyprus

The far-right National Popular Front, or Ethniko Laiko Metopo (Elam), has links to Greece’s neo-fascist Golden Dawn party, whose officials have been known to visit Cyprus to give talks to Elam followers. Elam barely polled 1 per cent of the vote at the parliamentary elections in 2011. That does not mean it has abandoned attempts to exploit the anger Cypriots feel at the harsh bailout conditions agreed with the EU.

France

Marine Le Pen’s Front National (FN) party has seen a surge in support. In presidential elections last year, the party’s vow to push back against what it calls the “Islamisation” of France proved popular, and is credited with helping it to win its biggest slice of the national vote ever – almost 20 per cent.  

Germany

The neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) has been very active of late ahead of Germany’s national elections on Sunday. Most recently, NPD members sent mock airline tickets marked “one-way” to politicians in Berlin with migrant roots, urging them to return to their “home country” immediately. In post-war Germany, no far-right party has gained the 5 per cent needed to enter the national parliament, but the NPD is represented in two state parliaments.

Suggested Topics
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game