Amid tight police security, four MPs from Greece’s Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn party appeared in court today for a preliminary hearing into charges of participating in a criminal organisation.
Anti-terrorist officers led them into court as a few dozen Golden Dawn supporters gathered outside applauded. Another three lower-ranking party members appeared before an examining magistrate earlier in the day.
The party’s leadership, including its head, Nikolaos Mihaloliakos, are among 22 people arrested in a crackdown after the fatal stabbing on 17 September of Greek anti-fascist rap singer Pavlos Fyssas. Arrest warrants have been issued for another 10 people.
Golden Dawn rose from a fringe group to become Greece’s third most popular party in recent years, riding on a wave of anger about the country’s deep financial crisis that started in late 2009.
It won nearly seven per cent of the vote and gained 18 seats in the country’s 300-member parliament in elections last year.