Last week Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi) party members smashed stalls run by illegal immigrants in Rafina, near Athens and Messolonghi in central Greece.
A YouTube video shows Golden Dawn supporters patrolling a market. They inspect the licences of those selling goods. Golden Dawn supporters carrying Greek flags, can then be seen smashing up a stall because the stallholder allegedly didn’t have the required licence.
According to Euronews, one of the party’s MPs, George Germanis, justified the action saying: “We took a walk around the bazaar and listened to the problems of small goods sellers here and we noticed some illegal immigrants trying to sell their stuff without the appropriate licenses. We told the police and then we did what Golden Dawn must do.”
Conflicting accounts from Rafina mayor
Contrary to what was said by the Golden Dawn MP, Athens News reports that Rafina’s mayor, Yiorgos Christopoulos claimed that the foreign vendors did have licences.
YouTube videos show African traders being interviewed, claiming that they showed a valid licence to Golden Dawn, but the market stall was still trashed.
The Africans interviewed at the market also claimed that the police stood and watched whilst the attack was taking place. However, this is again inconsistent with what the mayor had told Vima FM on Monday. He said that police were not present, due to a limited police force in town.
Messolonghi videoGolden Dawn criticizes Greek Public Order Ministry for defending illegal immigrants
“The employees of the Public Order Ministry are paid through taxpayers’ sacrifices so they can defend illegal traders and illegal immigrants,” Ekathimerini quotes a Golden Dawn statement as saying. “In their desperate attempt to excuse their tolerance over many years for illegal trading, they are accusing members and MPs of the party of usurping authority and causing unprovoked damage to foreign property.”
Greek government response
According to Euronews, members of Golden Dawn are under investigation for posing as police. However, Ekathimerini reports that Golden Dawn’s deputies said they carried out the checks on migrants’ identification papers as “simple Greek citizens” and that their actions were lawful.
The Macon Telegraph says police performed stop and search checks outside the headquarters of Golden Dawn in Athens, to which Golden Dawn threatened legal action for “interrupting the free operation” of their offices.
Police guards who were protecting Golden Dawn lawmakers have been withdrawn by the public order ministry to avoid what it sees as a conflict of interest between protecting officials and preventing them from allegedly breaking the law.
Golden Dawn rises in popularityThe Washington Post reports that an opinion poll published last week indicates Golden Dawn now has the support of 12% of voters.
This is in contrast to the June elections when it won eighteen parliamentary seats out of a total 300-member parliament with just under 7% of the vote.
Greece’s patriotic Golden Dawn party have stepped in as illegal immigrants swamp the debt-ridden country and crime spirals out of control.