ATHENS – Squadrons of Greek police on Sept. 18 were bracing for protests and rallies to mark the fifth anniversary of the murder of anti-fascist hip-hop artist Pavlos Fyssas, for which a member of the ultra-extreme right Golden Dawn has been charged.
The party’s leader and 14 other lawmakers, as well as dozens of members – including accused killer Giorgos Roupakias – have been on trial for more than four years on charges of running a criminal gang but little progress has been made because the defendants often don’t appear and aren’t being compelled to come to court.
Fyssas, 34, was murdered in 2013 in Keratsini, near Piraeus. Roupakis, who had served a maximum 18-month detention period without being tried, was released under house arrest in March of 2016.
Rallies were planned across the country, including one at 5:30 p.m. at the spot of Fyssas’s slaying and to culminate at the offices of Golden Dawn in Piraeus with a large police presence expected to prevent clashes between the sides. Far-left and anarchist groups are also planning a large rally in Thessaloniki in the afternoon.
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.