Golden Dawn disrupts wartime commemorations

Neonazis create commotion at two sites marking wartime executions

Golden Dawn MP raises his hand in a Nazi salute at a memorial in Giannitsa while in Meligalas the party leaders verbally abused other nationalist participants at a commemoration

Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panayiotaras led the disruption at Meligalas (Photo: tharrosnews.gr) Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panayiotaras led the disruption at Meligalas (Photo: tharrosnews.gr) Members of neonazi Golden Dawn disrupted two ceremonies marking two very different incidents from the second world war over the weekend, only days after other Golden Dawn elements were involved in a physical attack on members of the Communist Party.

At a commemoration held on Saturday in the northern town of Giannitsa to remember the 120 townspeople executed by German occupation forces and local collaborationists on 14 September 1944, leftwing groups reacted angrily when a Golden Dawn MP laid a wreath at a memorial to the victims.

As dozens of police held back the protesters, the MP, Antonis Gregos, lifted his arm in a Nazi salute as he walked away from the monument.

On Sunday, a ceremony commemorating the execution on 13-15 September 1944 of some 700 members of Greek units that backed the Germans was disrupted when the large contingent of Golden Dawn members who turned up at the event began verbally attacking other nationalist organisations.

The commemoration at Meligalas, in Messenia in the southern Peloponnese, recalls the hundreds of members of the Security Battalions, set up by the puppet government in Athens to support German troops against the resistance, who were executed after a battle by communist-led resistance forces and locals.

As the mayor of Oichalias, Filippos Babis, started addressing the crowd, the Golden Dawn contingent, which contained almost all of the party's 18 MPs, began jeering and hurling insults, forcing him to interrupt his speech.

The microphone was then seized by Ilias Panayiotaras, a Golden Dawn MP, prompting many of those present, including the mayor and families of the victims, to withdraw from the commemoration.

Another Golden Dawn MP, Ilias Kasidiaris, then took the microphone, describing the events in Meligalas as a "genocide". He also said that "those who govern us are traitors to the fatherland".

Speaking on Monday morning, the government spokesman condemned Golden Dawn's behaviour.

"The Golden Dawnites went to Meligalas like the Germans," Simos Kedikoglou told Antenna TV.

He added that "attempts to create a civil-war climate must be opposed".  

The scenes at Meligalas were also condemned by the Peloponnese regional governor.

"Meligalas, our history and our dead belong the Peloponnese and not to some Golden Dawnites, who transport their bully-boy tactics around the country like football hooligans," Petros Tatoulias said. 

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Panos Panagiotopoulos
Second World War
Ilias Kasidiaris
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