Are Neo-Nazis Aiding Greek Cops With "DIY Law Enforcement"?
Forget the day-to-day images of riots and protests, the truth on the ground in Greece is far harsher. Just as we warned numerous times, social unrest is escalating rapidly and the extremists are gaining strength and power. One of Greece's neo-nazi Golden Dawn party MPs says "there is already civil war, and Greek society is ready - even though no-one likes this - to have a fight." The BBC's Paul Mason reports on recent demonstrations surrounding the performance of a controversial play as tensions escalated and the Golden Dawn party "de-arresting" demonstrators - pulling them from police detention, as the police do nothing. The somewhat shocking clip below points out the incredible reality that is occurring on the streets of Greece - even as EU leaders claim Greece was not a topic at the EU Summit. The people ask "if we are in a democracy or a dictatorship?" and Golden Dawn (which has 18 seats in parliament) proclaims "On the one side there will be nationalists like us, and Greeks who want our country to be as it used to be; and on the other side illegal immigrants, anarchists and all those who have destroyed Athens several times." As Mason concludes: the social and political outcome of the IMF and EU austerity program, and of the implosion of mainstream politics in Greece, looks like a catastrophe for democracy.
Here is the clip of the theatre riot and Golden Dawn abuse "Wrap It Up You Little Faggots. You Albanian Assholes"
The full 'must watch' BBC video is not embeddable, but worth viewing, so click image for link:
Are Greek police colluding with far-right Golden Dawn?
Greece's far-right party, Golden Dawn, won 18 parliamentary seats in the June election with a campaign openly hostile to illegal immigrants and there are now allegations that some Greek police are supporting the party.
"There is already civil war," says Ilias Panagiotaros. If so, the shop he owns is set to do a roaring trade.
"Greek society is ready - even though no-one likes this - to have a fight: a new type of civil war," he says.
"On the one side there will be nationalists like us, and Greeks who want our country to be as it used to be, and on the other side illegal immigrants, anarchists and all those who have destroyed Athens several times," he adds.
You hear comments like this a lot in Greece now but Ilias Panagiotaros is not some figure on the fringes: he is a member of the Greek parliament, one of 18 MPs elected for the far-right Golden Dawn in June's general election.
...Last week he led a demonstration that closed down a performance of the Terence McNally play, Corpus Christi.
"Wrap it up you little faggots. Yes, just keep staring at me you little hooker. Your time is up. "You Albanian assholes," shouts Mr Panagiotaros in the YouTube clip.
Footage filmed inside the theatre, as rocks showered into its open-air auditorium, shows the manager making frantic calls to the chief of police, demanding protection from a mob that had begun to beat up journalists outside.
Other footage shows Golden Dawn MP Christos Pappas "de-arrest" a demonstrator, pulling him from a police detention coach, as the police do nothing.
"People went home with broken bones. Every day they phone me now, they phone the theatre, saying: your days are numbered."
They phoned my mother, Golden Dawn. They said we will deliver your son's body to you in a box of little pieces.
"I want to be told if we are in a democracy or a dictatorship?"
I ask Mr Panagiotaros: how can it be right for a party in parliament to have a uniformed militia that takes on, violently, the role of law enforcement, checking papers and overturning market stalls? He explains:
"With one incident, which was on camera, the problem was solved - in every open market all over Greece illegal immigrants disappeared.
"There was some pushing and some fighting - nothing extraordinary, nothing special.
"Now, only with one phone call saying Golden Dawn is going to pass by, the police is going there. That means the brand name of Golden Dawn is very effective."
He confirms the party's strategy is to force police action against migrants and to claim their right to make citizens' arrests against those they suspect of criminality.
"It's like fashion - our dress code is now extremely popular and more people want to follow it. The brand name is synonymous with order, law and order and efficiency."
And if it projects fear among perfectly legal migrants? I ask.
"There are no legal migrants in Greece," says Mr Panagiotaros "not even one."
Now Golden Dawn is suddenly everywhere. Its eight local offices at election time have become 60 nationwide. It is polling consistently as the third most popular party at 12%.
"Rest assured we stand by the citizens and we try to prevent such situations.
And the issue driving support for Golden Dawn is clear: illegal migration.
"Golden Dawn is at war with the political system and those who represent it, with the domestic and international bankers, we are at war with these invaders - immigrants.
"If the European Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Parliament, the Greek parliament don't intervene in this situation I am afraid to think what's going to happen. Europe must do something if they don't want a revival of the Third Reich again."
Close up, in other words, the social and political outcome of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and EU (European Union) austerity programme, and of the implosion of mainstream politics in Greece, looks like a catastrophe for democracy.