As three more lawmakers of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party appeared in court on Nov. 25, the extremist group planned a rally for Nov. 30 in the center of Athens, Greece to demand the release of its its jailed leaders who are being held in detention until their trial on charges of running a criminal organization.
The three MPs were given until Dec. 7 to prepare their defense and went into court cheered by about 150 supporters. The lawmakers denied any wrongdoing and said the charges were politically motivated and driven by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras,’ coalition government, his New Democracy Conservatives and their partner, the PASOK Socialists, to thwart Golden Dawn’s rising popularity.
Nine of Golden Dawn’s 18 lawmakers face similar charges, including leader Nikos Michaloliakos and two lawmakers who have been remanded in prison pending trial.The charges followed the August murder of an anti-fascist musician, with which a party supporter has been charged.
Hoping to garner support for their release, the party has asked supporters to come to the protest rally to show their dissatisfaction with the government’s actions. Party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris said the Neo-Nazi group plans to gather in Syntagma Square at 7 p.m. before marching toward the Justice Ministry.
He was speaking after three of the party’s MPs, Giorgos Germenis, Panayiotis Iliopoulos and Stathis Boukouras, appeared before magistrates to answer charges of being part of a criminal organization.