ATHENS – Rallies marking the fifth anniversary of the murder of an anti-fascist hip-hop artist were marked by violence Sept. 18 when riot police fired tear gas at demonstrators angry over long delays in trying the accused killer, a member of the ultra-extreme right Golden Dawn party.
Pavlos Fyssas, 34, was murdered in 2013 in Keratsini, near Piraeus. The man charged with the killing, Giorgos Roupakis, who had served a maximum 18-month detention period without being tried, was released under house arrest in March of 2016.
Fyssas’ mother has been attending the court sessions but the trial is expected to go until 2021 or even longer, which would make it last more than seven years with defendants still remaining free.
Police tangled with leftist demonstrators in Piraeus and Thesssaloniki. In Piraeus, lMolotov Cocktails and stones were thrown at a police riot van near the Municipal Theatre, which was positioned to keep the protesters away from a Golden Dawn office.
In Thessaloniki, where a group of masked youths attacked riot police officers guarding an office of the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
The leadership of the party remains on trial for allegedly running a criminal organization. Golden Dawn has 15 lawmakers in Greece’s 300-member Parliament and constantly runs third or fourth in polls despite its self-declared anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-gay platform and charges of running a criminal gang, which its leaders deny.
The trial of the party’s leader, 14 other lawmakers, as well as dozens of members, including Roupakias has made little progress because the defendants often don’t appear and aren’t being compelled to come to court.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)