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Golden Dawn moves food handout following police ban

Ban follows mayor's decision to block handout

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After Athens' mayor says he would block Greeks-only food handout from taking place, police issue a a noon-to-midnight ban on 'outdoor public gatherings and marches' in the innercity area in question

Golden Dawn members secure an area where fellow party supporters are distributing food, August 2012 (Reuters) Golden Dawn members secure an area where fellow party supporters are distributing food, August 2012 (Reuters) Golden Dawn has announced its moving the location of a Greeks-only food and clothing handout after police declared a noon-to-midnight ban on "outdoor public gatherings and marches" around the public park where it originally planned to stage the event.

The extremist rightwing party says it will now distribute food and clothing to Greek families at its party office at Diligiannis 50, near Stathmos Larisa railway station, at 6pm. The event was advertised for Plateia Attikis, in the Agios Panteleimonas district.

But on Wednesday morning, police banned all public outdoor events around Plateia Attikis following an announcement by Athens Mayor Yiorgos Kaminis that he would block the event.

In a statement, the Attica General Police Directorate (Gada) said that "for reasons of public safety, outdoor public gatherings or marches are not permitted, from noon until midnight, in the area of Athens bordered by Acharnon, Ioulianou, Filadelfias, Dokomou, Nestoros, Konstantinopouleos, Agiou Meletiou and Acharnon" streets.

The police ban would also apply to counterdemonstrations against the Golden Dawn event. 

Insisting that any food-distribution drive requires a permit from the municipality, the mayor, Kaminis, said on Tuesday that it was designed to "intentionally promote racism and xenophobia".

Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias castigated Golden Dawn as a "pathetic copy of Nazi totalitarianism".

Golden Dawn has carried out frequent food distribution events at which its members check and record details of recipients' identity cards to ensure that non-Greeks are excluded.

In May, after police prevented a similar handout from taking place on Syntagma Square, Kaminis claimed he was assaulted by a Golden Dawn MP in a municipal office. After the mayor pressed charges against him, the MP, Giorgos Germenis, responded by suing Kaminis and the chief of police.

Golden Dawn says its leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, will address a rally at the same time as the food handout. 

The Golden Dawn event coincides with the 39th anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Greece. The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner Nils Mui┼żnieks tweeted that the ban was an appropriate way to mark the anniversary. 



The area where the police ban on "all gatherings" applies. Plateia Attikis is bordered in orange. The marker indicates the location of Golden Dawn's office

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