Thousands protest against right-wing party in Athens

Supporters of Golden Dawn in Greece
Supporters of Golden Dawn in Greece

Thousands of Greeks took to the streets of Athens to protest against far-right extremism on Thursday, a day after police and demonstrators clashed in cities across the country following the murder of an anti-fascist singer.

Around 4,000 people marched in the capital’s western Keratsini district, where Wednesday’s murder occurred, carrying banners that said “stop fascism” and “no pasaran” (“they shall not pass”), an AFP reporter saw.

The protesters, mostly trade union members, shouted slogans including “out with fascists” and “workers do not fear threats”.

Greece has been rocked by unrest since popular hip hop artist Pavlos Fyssas, who wrote music under the nickname Killah P, was stabbed to death early on Wednesday by 45-year-old truck driver George Roupakias, who has allegedly confessed to police and is said to be a supporter of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.

Thousands of Greeks took to the streets in anti-fascist marches in cities across the country on Wednesday. Scuffles broke out in some areas, with police firing tear gas at groups of demonstrators in Athens, the northern city of Thessaloniki and the western city of Patras.

Golden Dawn has denied links with the killer, but pictures have surfaced of Roupakias participating in party activities, and reports said members of his family worked for the organisation.

In a televised address earlier on Thursday, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras vowed to rein in the Golden Dawn party.

“This government is determined not to allow the descendants of the Nazis to poison our social life, to commit crimes, terrorise and undermine the foundations of the country that gave birth to democracy,” he said.

Experts have argued that current legislation would make it difficult to slap an outright ban on Golden Dawn, but government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said steps will be taken to expose the group’s “criminal” acts and isolate it. – AFP