ATHENS — A Greek prosecutor has charged seven men with alleged membership in a violent neo-Nazi group linked to a series of arson attacks on far-left and migrant-related targets at the same time leftist groups and anarchists have run amok.
All seven Greeks were formally accused of membership in a criminal organization, arson, causing explosions and possession of explosives and weapons. They were arrested March 6 by anti-terrorism police in a series of raids in Athens and two provincial towns.
Officers confiscated Molotov cocktails, 50 kilograms of explosives, shotguns, knives, cudgels, drugs and far-right paraphernalia.
The suspects are thought to be members of the Greek branch of the neo-Nazi group Combat 18. Far-right and far-left violence has increased in Greece during the country’s deep financial crisis over the past eight years. A Nazi-inspired party, Golden Dawn, is currently Greece’s fourth-largest in parliament.
Unable to apprehend anarchist and terrorist sympathizers who have rampaged through Greece’s capital almost at will, Greek police have succeeded in going after an allegedly violent neo-Nazi group, arrested five charged with arson attacks on leftist and migrant-related targets.
Those arrested are accused of belonging to a criminal organization, carrying out bombings and arson attacks, breaches of weapons laws and explosives possession.
Attacks on migrant groups and Leftist areas have stepped up, including in February when five people were hurt when a group of men believed to be far-right supporters smashed their way into a leftist community center in the port city of Piraeus.
The attackers were wielding tire irons and lit smoke bombs when they barged into the premises shortly after 7 p.m., attacking the people who were gathered there at the time and smashing windows and furniture, Kathimerini said.
According to reports on an anarchist website, the attackers shouted the slogan “blood, honor, Golden Dawn,” which is used by extremist party.
Among the injured was the lawyer representing the family of Fyssas, a musician who was stabbed to death by a self-professed Golden Dawn member, Giorgos Roupakias, in September 2013.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)