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article imageGreece moves to ban Golden Dawn party after singer's murder

By Brett Wilkins     Sep 19, 2013 in World
Athens - The Greek government is likely to take steps in an attempt to ban the far-right Golden Dawn party following the murder of an anti-fascist rapper by a self-confessed party member.
ROAR Magazine reports 34-year-old Pavlos Fyssas, aka 'Killah P', was assaulted by a gang of at least 15 black-shirted Golden Dawn thugs, some of them armed with sticks, on Wednesday night as he walked with his girlfriend and another couple in Keratsini, west of Athens. Fyssas, described as "a big and powerful man," stood his ground and tried to allow his girlfriend and the other couple to escape harm. A man then suddenly drove up to Fyssas, parked, got out, and stabbed him twice in the chest and once in the abdomen.
Police were reportedly present during the incident, and Fyssas' girlfriend and other bystanders pleaded with them to intervene to stop the crime. Officers from DIAS, the motorcycle police unit whose members have often aided and accompanied Golden Dawn members as they brutalize immigrants and anti-fascist activists and demonstrators, allegedly told them: "There are too many, what can we do?"
The Guardian reports an unnamed 45-year-old man was arrested after the fatal stabbing. The suspect later confessed to being a Golden Dawn member, and his wife, who was also detained by police, confessed to attempting to hide incriminating evidence linking her husband to the murder. Among the evidence were the suspect's Golden Dawn credentials.
Fyssas is the first Greek to be killed by Golden Dawn, which targets mostly foreigners (usually of the dark-skinned variety) for intimidation, beatings, torture and murder.
The Associated Press reports a mix of peaceful and violent demonstrations swept Greece in the wake of Fyssas' murder.
Fyssas' killing has united Greeks of all political stripes to condemn fascist violence.
"It is our duty not to allow any space whatsoever to fascism, not even an inch," declared President Karolos Papoulias.
The socialist PASOK party, a member of the governing coalition which has been pushing for a ban on Golden Dawn, stepped up calls for prohibition following the deadly stabbing. Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos, a PASOK member, said Golden Dawn "must be dealt with as a criminal organization."
"This activity goes beyond the limits of isolated incidents, is an affront to public sentiment, undermines the authority of law, insults human rights and human dignity, jeopardizes public order and the country's internal security," Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said following Fyssas' murder.
Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos, however, denied that his party was responsible for the killing.
"Their plans will not succeed," Michaloliakos said of the attempts to ban his party.
Police raided Golden Dawn offices throughout Greece, with media reports of running clashes between demonstrators and police outside party offices in Crete, Patra and Thessaloniki.
Golden Dawn shocked Greece and much of the world after it won 7 percent of the vote in national elections last year. It is now the country's third-largest political party and currently controls 18 seats in the 300-seat parliament. As the Greek economy continues to be mired in a painful six-year recession, with the country's once-generous social welfare system gutted and unemployment at 27 percent -- and a staggering 59 percent among youths aged 15-24, many Greeks, especially those with right-wing political views, have been attracted by Golden Dawn's fiery rhetoric which blames foreigners -- the word xenophobia is Greek, and even during the best of times many Greeks have been wary of outsiders -- for the nation's ills.
As the debate over what to do about Golden Dawn rages, family, friends and fans of Pavlos Fyssas remembered the slain artist.
"Pavlos was always present in the social struggles of his time and his generation, and he tried to contribute to them through his music and lyrics as well," fellow Greek hip-hop artist Leonidas Oikonomakis wrote in ROAR Magazine.
"A young man died tonight... stabbed to death by a neo-Nazi squad whose members today are inside the Greek Parliament and who seem to be enjoying great popular support," Oikonomakis continued, adding that "the rise of fascism in Greece is a direct result of the austerity policies that have driven the people here into extreme levels of poverty, marginalization and insecurity, providing fertile ground for the neo-Nazis of Golden Dawn who promise them national glory in place of economic security."
And to those that threatened me with burning chains,
I want them to know that I will not bother with fear...
Let them come find me at the mountaintop,
I'm waiting for them and I will not bother with fear.
-Pavlos Fyssas, "I Won't Cry, I Won't Fear"
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