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
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Bruce, left, with Cream bandmates Ginger Rogers, centre, and Eric Clapton in 1967
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker