18 Sep 2013

Tensions rise in Greece as Golden Dawn linked to murder

Police raid Golden Dawn’s offices in Athens after a man arrested in connection with the murder of an anti-fascist hip hop artist claims to be a member of the right-wing party.

Anti-fascist rapper and ship worker Pavlos Fyssas, also known as Killah P, was stabbed to death in an Athens suburb early on Wednesday.

Police said a 45-year-old man arrested in connection with the murder has admitted to being a member of the neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn – potentially throwing a lit match into an already simmering Athens, where austerity has inflamed divisions between the left and right.

The attack follows clashes last week between Golden Dawn supporters and Communist party members, which left nine communists in hospital, seriously injured.

Separately, thousands were on the streets of Athens on Wednesday as part of a two-day nationwide strike against planned job cuts.

September 18, 2013, must be seen as a wake-up call for Greek democracy. Ekathimerini newspaper

Police raided a number of Golden Dawn offices in the afternoon on Wednesday, in the wake of the stabbing.

Officers said that the suspect had called his wife after the incident and asked her to “throw away everything”, including a taser gun and some Golden Dawn material.

Golden Dawn has denied any connection with the man or the attack, accusing instead the police of acting illegally and using the attack as a cover for trying to outlaw the party.

It also said that several Golden Dawn offices were now under attack by protesters, for example with a Molotov cocktail in Patrasalthough a video taken by the party showed only one missile thrown (see video below).

A Golden Dawn spokesman told Channel 4 News the party condemned the death of the young man, but insisted it was nothing to do with them.

Anti-fascist groups are now planning vigils and marches across the country in reaction to Killah P’s death and the alleged Golden Dawn links. Killah P’s Facebook page has been flooded with condolence messages, with users from Greece as well as further afield posting “RIP”.

The full circumstances of the 34-year-old rapper’s death are unclear, although there have been some suggestions that the situation escalated after an argument in a bar in the Athens suburb of Amfiali earlier.

Reports suggested that the suspect left the premises but later attacked Fyssas when he left, along with a group of around 15 other people also allegedly linked to Golden Dawn.

The red line?

The murder risks inflaming a precarious social situation in Greece. Tensions were already high: thousands demonstrated in Athens earlier this week after the Golden Dawn attack on Communist Party supporters last Thursday.

One English language newspaper in Greece, Ekathimerini, called Killah P’s death “the red line”. Nikos Xydakis wrote: “September 18, 2013, must be seen as a wake-up call for Greek democracy… All of this points to the destruction of democracy and the Final Solution.”

Earlier this year, Channel 4 News broadcast a film showing what some Golden Dawn supporters were like after student Konstantinos Georgousis spent a month filming with them on the streets of Athens. The verdict? Despite growing popularity in Greece and holding 18 seats in parliament – much of the party is racist, anti-semitic and violent.

Greek politicians have called for calm – although opposition leader Alexis Tsipiras also warned of “a danger of political destabilisation of the country”, adding that it was a “co-ordinated effort from far-right and neo-Nazi centres”. He called for the Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras to take decisive action.

Minister of Citizen Protection Nikos Dendias condemned the attack in a written statement, and pledged to start a debate in parliament over what constitutes a criminal organisation and an armed group.