Ex-Golden Dawn Lawyer Says Party Nazi-Oriented, Violent

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Giorgos Kontarinis, File)

ATHENS – A lawyer who left the extremist Golden Dawn party whose leaders and dozens of members are on trial on charges of running a criminal gang said it operated with a neo-Nazi strategy and wanted to topple the government in favor of a dictatorship.

The court rarely meets in the case which has now entered its third year with no end in sight and as the defendants aren’t being compelled to appear.

Ilias Stavrou, who left the party four years ago, told the court it “had as its aim the installation of a one-party state and the abolition of any form of parliamentary procedures,” according to Kathimerini.

Stavrou said party leader Nikos Michaloliakos had absolute authority and that he and top henchmen ordered attacks on migrants and critics, which the Golden Dawn chief and his associates have denied.

Stavros said its top officials “tried to infiltrate the police and the army and to be close to the Church.” He was due to continue testifying on Sept. 18.

On Sept. 16, anti-fascist groups led a march from central Athens to the party’s headquarters to mark four years since the murder of leftist rapper Pavlos Fyssas by self-professed Golden Dawn member Giorgos Roupakias, who was freed after being held for the maximum 18-month detention period.

Another demonstration turned violent when protesters threw Molotov cocktails at a riot squad unit while chanting “Pavlos lives, crush the Nazis” and “Shut down Golden Dawn,” the paper said. Police guarded Golden Dawn headquarters.

In a May session of the case, law professor Nikos Alivizatos said Golden Dawn “wanted to addict us to the daily use of violence,” and said that violent incidents rose drastically after 2012 when it entered Parliament.

The party’s targets, he said, are chosen based on their neo-Nazi ideology, “meaning migrants, the weak and, I suspect, the left and the anti-establishment realm.”

“If they are darker in skin color, then all the better,” he said.