U.S. Companies Brace for an Exit From the Euro by Greece September 3, 2012Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Yunanistan.
Tags: Golden Dawn, Greece, Immigrants, Racist
Golden Dawn has been in the news before, most notably when one of its representatives repeatedly slapped a female opposition party representative on live TV after throwing water in the face of another female opponent a moment earlier. Now, they are in the news again, this time for attacks by their supporters on military bases where immigrants, who have been arrested and detained by the government under the Xenios Zeus program, are being held, according to the Greek Reporter.
The news highlights one worrying trend in Greece — In the past year, Greece’s Golden Dawn party’s rise in popularity, along with a rise in violence against immigrants, have followed each other step by step. The stories about violence against immigrants are alarming, sometimes gruesome, and growing in number.
With a five year long recession only being exacerbated by austerity measures, resentment against the rest of Europe (especially Germany) has been accompanied by resentment against immigrants, who are portrayed as taking the resources, jobs, and opportunity meant for Greeks. The Golden Dawn party has capitalized on this phenomena, surpassing the 3% threshold in Greece’s Parliamentary elections needed for representation.
Golden Dawn appeal to a country hit by tough times. At one event, where Golden Dawn members and supporters handed out food in front of the Parliament. There was a catch, however — they only gave out the food after people showed ID cards proving they were citizens, have helped to combine the messages and in effect, soften the anti-immigration policy into the mainstream. Critics argue that these events are only a smokescreen for the more violent acts carried out by Golden Dawn members.
“At night they beat people up. And by day, they hand out food,” said left-wing Athens city councilor Petros Constantinou, in an interview with the AP.
Even more startling may be how the government is handling the situation. Instead of calling for an end to the attacks or cracking down through increased surveillance by the police in troubled areas, it has acted as an instigator.
At the start of August, 4,500 police captured and detained more than 7,000 immigrants in Athens in a 3-day period. These actions came as Greece’s Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias stated “We will not allow our towns, or our country, to be occupied and become a migrant ghetto”, reports the Guardian. Dendias also said he believed the immigration problem may be more serious than the economic problem.
A report from Human Rights Watch reported that after attacks, illegal immigrants were scared to report the crime for fear of being deported while also being “routinely discouraged from filing official complaints.” It goes on, saying that in some cases, “the police told some victims they would have to pay a fee to file a complaint.”
The reasoning for this seems clear. Exit polls from the 2012 Parliamentary elections in May found that in some areas, approximately 50% of the police force voted for the party, reports the Independent.
Illegal and legal immigrants have begun trying to call attention to their plight, despite heavy resistance. Last week, 3,000 people attended a protest in front of Greece’s Parliament, reports RT. Signs emblazoned with messages like “No Islamophobia” and “Neo Nazis out!” were held high in what was believed to be one of the largest anti-racism rallies in Athen’s history. Golden Dawn’s spokesman and parliament member Ilias Kasidiaris quickly condemned the government for allowing the rally, saying the Constitution protects gatherings of only Greeks, not foreigners.
Fittingly, Kasidiaris is the same man who assaulted the female opposition party member on live TV not long ago.