Golden Dawn: The alarming rise of Greece's far right
Saturday 06 October 2012
On a weekday evening, the Golden Dawn headquarters opposite Athens' main station in the neighbourhood of Kolonos is teeming with supporters. A burly man with a thick silver chain around his neck stands at the door. His black T-shirt reads: "Against all."
Pensioners, youths and a priest mill around the room. Mrs Eleftheria, a retired health worker, has been dragged along by a friend. "Golden Dawn has helped people, so I'm curious to see what they're about" she says.
The woman next to Mrs Eleftheria came to ask for the party's help in reclaiming cash that a man owed her.
"We address their complaints, the Golden Dawn MP Ioannis Vouldis says. "Our party's politicians don't live in the rich suburbs like most other MPs. We're part of the neighbourhood."
In less than three years, the party's popularity has shot up from 0.4 per cent of the popular vote to 6.97 per cent in recent elections. Now, that support stands at 12 per cent. With its unyielding criticism of austerity measures and fierce anti-immigrant policies, the party taps many popular anxieties.
But Golden Dawn's help to citizens goes well beyond politics. The party claims it receives calls from distressed landlords whose flats have been occupied by migrants.
Mr Vouldis says his party's men clear the households thanks to their "good face and strong hand".
"They have taken on the role of the police," says 30-year-old Vassilis, a policeman from northern Greece who voted for the party in the last elections. "They provide a good pressure to the political system when corruption goes unpunished and poverty soars."
The broken trust between mainstream politicians and Greeks is only one reason for the rise of the far right. With its nationalist rhetoric, Golden Dawn appeals to the bruised pride of Greeks who see their country surrender to the "diktats" of foreign lenders.
But the rise of the party has ugly consequences. Recently, Golden Dawn MPs smashed the stalls of immigrants in Rafina. Rights groups have criticised the police for standing by while attacks on foreigners have increased. Last Saturday, thugs broke into the home of the imam of the Pakistani community.
"The rise of fascism in Greece is very dangerous," Javed Aslam, president of the Greek Pakistani community, said. "I don't understand how Europe can remain silent about this terrorism."
Arsenal strengthened their grip on a top-four finish with a straightforward 3-0 win over Hull City.
Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
Unbeliebable: The White House offer 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
Royal Tour 2014: Is the Duchess of Cambridge the only person ever to climb into a fighter jet wearing a dress and high heels?
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Unbeliebable: The White House offer 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 How We Met: Alison Moyet & Emma Kennedy: 'I knew we'd be friends because she was happy to make a prat of herself'
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...