Greek state tries to stem neo-Nazi rise
Following its unprecedented election to parliament, Greece’s neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn has been engaged in ‘law and order’ crackdowns and solidarity gestures that have boosted its popularity, alarming the state. In recent weeks the once-fringe group has organised Greeks-only food handouts and blood donations, and has twice ousted migrant peddlers from street markets to the delight of local operators and the outrage of authorities. Tightly regimented and dressed in black T-shirts stamped with the meander, an ancient Greek motif, Golden Dawn is also suspected of orchestrating a rising trend of racist violence against foreigners, legal or otherwise. And it has sent squads of black-clad supporters to harass and intimidate political opponents at public events. The government has already accused Golden Dawn of attempting to usurp the role of the police and warned that “storm battalions” would not be tolerated, a direct reference to the paramilitary gangs that helped Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias earlier this month stripped the group’s 18 lawmakers of their police guards after one of them was allegedly implicated in the smashing of immigrant trading stalls.