Socialists in Greece are leading the fight against the government’s austerity programme and attempts to blame immigrants for the crisis. As part of this racist scapegoating, fascists had taken over parts of the Agios Panteleimonos area of Athens and attacked immigrants.
Five thousand people joined an anti-racist protest to the area on Saturday 15 January to throw the fascists back. Fifty fascists held a counter-protest, and the day ended with clashes between demonstrators, police and racists.
The following week councillor Nikolaos Michaloliakos, the leader of the fascist Golden Dawn party, and his armed bodyguards attempted to enter an Athens council meeting. This outraged other councillors, including Petros Constantinou of the Anti-Capitalist Left, who demanded that he and his bodyguards be expelled.
Petros told Socialist Worker, “The anti-racist demonstration showed how isolated the fascists were. Their leader stood up in the council chamber and said that he would fight to stop Pakistanis and Bangladeshis taking over Greece.
“Then he made fascist salutes. There was uproar. The vast majority of people in Greece hate fascism as we suffered under the Nazi occupation during the Second World War.
“I said that there was no way we could stand for this and that the fascist should get out. The council stood against him and we will continue to demand that he is kicked out of the council.
“This confrontation has been shown on news broadcasts. People on the street have said to me, ‘You’re the one who fought the Nazi pig.’”
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