Greek Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias, exasperated at violent attacks against police by the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, and growing assaults against immigrants, said he’s going to crack down on the group. Golden Dawn supporters, clad in the party’s black shirt with the Swastika-like ancient Greek meander symbol, battled with police outside a military camp in Corinth where immigrants were being taken to be detained.
“Raid brigades across the country, who trade upon national symbols, will not be tolerated. Any such phenomenon will be crushed,” Dendias said. Greek authorities have been conducting a sweep called Xenios Zeus and rounded up 11,000 immigrants, looking for those in the country unlawfully. Golden Dawn and municipal authorities where detention centers are being established are objecting to the presence of the immigrants.
Some 3,000 people gathered on the night of Aug. 24 in Syntagma Square for an anti-racism rally that officials fear might be disrupted by Golden Dawn, whose supporters have been accused of gathering in packs to attack lone immigrants. There were no incidents at the rally.
Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris, already charged with assaulting two other Leftist lawmakers while they were appearing live on a television program, blasted the government for allowing the rally to take place, saying that “the Constitution protects gatherings of Greeks and not of foreigners.”
The newspaper Kathimerini said that tensions continued in Corinth over the use of the military base as a detention center for some 400 migrants arrested during a police sweep in central Athens after failing to produce proper documentation. The migrants will be held at the base as they await deportation, but the move has prompted reactions from local authorities and residents.
The Corinth Municipality cut off the water supply to the camp and the deputy mayor questioned the legality of the transfer. “If the transfer was legal, then why wasn’t it done during the day instead of at night?” Haralambos Kambouris said to Kathimerini. “We do not want (the camp) to become a migrant detention center because there are schools and sports facilities nearby. The camp is near the city center. The law for detention centers says that they need to be located far away from inhabited areas.”