Nikos Michaloliakos, GD leader was found guilty of possession of weapons and running a criminal party. Other key figures were also found guilty eg Kasidiaris, who left GD to form another fascist group.
He and 17 former GD MP’s face years in prison. Dozens of GD nazis were judged guilty of a number of violent and racist offences. Magda Fyssas, mother of murdered rapper Pavlos Fyssas, waved her fists defiantly as Yiorgos Roupakios, GD supporter, was found guilty of Pavlos’ murder.
GD also were involved in the murder of the young Pakistani man, Shehzad Luqman. All five accused of attacking an Egyptian fisherman were found guilty. All verdicts were unanimous.
Seven years of huge efforts in court and on the streets, workplaces and colleges have culminated in this victory for all who detest fascism, say anti racists. Over 15 thousand gathered outside the courts and cheered the verdicts. One Athens prison saw a banner inside, with jail Golden Dawn, hung!
Officials moved against GD only because of anti fascists enormous pressure. Over 50 000 demonstrated over Pavlos Fyssas killing, for instance. Greek governments’ victimisation of refugees over several years gave GD oxygen in which to grow.
Refugees in Lesbos were targeted by GD as were students, workers and others who resisted GD. The anti fascist movement, of which Stand Up To Racism’s sister organisation, KEERFA, played a key role throughout, has been vindicated. Anti fascists in Greece pledge to continue refugee Solidarity work and ensure fascism is made history in the country.
Petros Constantinou, organiser KEERFA, Greece, said:
“It is a historical day for the anti fascist movement. For the first time after the Nuremberg trial of Nazis, a Neo Nazi organisation is on trial after an explosion of anti fascist struggle in Greece following the murder of Pavlos Fyssas. The conviction as criminal organisation will send the message that the only place for Neo Nazis in in prison.”
Weyman Bennett, co convenor Stand Up To Racism, said:
“Across Europe, the US and internationally, we are facing a deep polarisation that flows from a deep and multilayered global crisis. We have seen the rise of racist populism and racist populist leaders in key political offices, who have benefited from a long running policy from the mainstream establishment of ‘hostile environments’, Islamophobia and institutionalised racism. They now in turn are using their platforms of power to normalise previously deemed unacceptable levels of racism and fan the flames of dangerous, violent far right and fascist forces.
“That’s why we need a coordinated international anti racist movement that can stand in solidarity and learn from the experiences of anti racists fighting in difficult conditions across the world. Greek prosecutors have put Golden Dawn on trial because of long running campaigning by Greek anti fascists. General Strikes by public sector workers and others in honour of Pavlos were central in pushing back GD. As anti fascists in Britain we pay tribute to KEERFA for all their enormous efforts.
“Their mass, united front work has brought the downfall of Golden Dawn. They have played a critical role in curbing the return of fascism, in a land where once of course, Jews and others were deported to concentration camps.”
Steve Hart, Unite Against Fascism chair, said “Its very important that Greek courts have designated nazi GD as a criminal organisation and have convicted Pavlos Fyssas killers.
GD tried to win support by attacking migrants and asylum seekers, taking advantage of austerity measures.
“GD were more advanced than fascists across Europe. The trial revelations must be a wake up call. The anti fascist movement must fight on many levels, including the courts. A broad, mass anti fascist movement has brought GD down. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”
Sabby Dhalu, co convenor Stand Up To Racism, said:
“Anti fascists in Greece have made history. They have withstood huge pressure and attacks from Golden Dawn (and some in the state) and we celebrate as anti racism and anti fascism is triumphant this week. The far right group, Greeks for the Homeland, aims to take the space the bankrupt Golden Dawn occupied. KEERFA and allies will, we know, be the most powerful opponents of those who wish to return to Greek’s darkest times.”