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article imageGreeks commemorate murder that sparked neo-Nazi probe

By AFP     Sep 16, 2017 in World

Hundreds of people joined an anti-racism protest in Athens on Saturday held to commemorate the shock murder of an anti-fascist rapper in 2013 by a member of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn.

Rapper Pavlos Fyssas's death sparked an investigation into the actions of Golden Dawn, which until then had not been sanctioned despite being linked to a campaign of violence against migrants and political opponents.

Nearly 70 members and supporters of the violently xenophobic and anti-Semitic formation have been on trial since 2015.

"The trial needs to conclude and send the neo-Nazis to prison," said protest organiser Petros Constantinou.

The prosecution is trying to prove Golden Dawn operated as a full-blown criminal outfit that allegedly encouraged beatings and even killings.

This week a former member testified in court that the outfit had designs to abolish the Greek parliament and create a Nazi-style state.

He added that prospective members took oaths to join the group under a Third Reich flag.

Fyssas's father has said his son was ambushed by around 60 Golden Dawn members outside a cafeteria and had been felled by "professional" blows to the heart.

A handful of police stood nearby but did not intervene when a group of around 20 people chased down Fyssas and his friends, according to witnesses.

Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos and other senior party members were also jailed at the outset of the investigation but have since been released.

The group rose to prominence at the height of the Greek economic crisis, portraying itself as a defender of Greece against unchecked migration and political corruption.

In the 2015 elections, Golden Dawn finished third with nearly 380,000 votes and elected 18 lawmakers to parliament.

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