There were three demonstrations against the fascist Golden Dawn party in Athens on Saturday of last week, and more elsewhere in Greece.
Thirty Golden Dawn members tried to march in the Athens suburb of Elliniko. On previous marches they have gone into shops run by immigrants to tell them to leave and to terrorise everyone.
But members of the Socialist Workers Party (SEK), who have a paper sale in the area, raised the alarm. Within half an hour there were 150 anti-fascists, including the mayor who is a member of the radical left party Syriza. The fascist march couldn’t take place.
The fascists had also called a rally and march in the highly symbolic area of Kypseli—one of the first parts of Athens to have a large immigrant community. Golden Dawn had its headquarters there until clashes in the late 1990s forced it out.
The local committee of the anti-capitalist left organisation Antarsya called a counter-protest, which won the support of many other organisations. We got about 1,500 people. The fascists didn’t turn up, but police tried to keep the square empty, saying the anti-fascists were banned.
In the end police had to stay in the middle of the square while we marched around them. From there we took the route the fascists had planned to march into the next suburb.
It was a Saturday evening, and people were very happy to see us—both immigrants and Greeks. There had also been an anti-fascist demonstration in the centre of Athens that morning.
Golden Dawn MPs had planned a tour of Crete over the weekend. But their 70 supporters were outnumbered by hundreds of anti-fascists in the largest city, Heraklion, on Friday. On Saturday they were unable to leave their office in Hania, where 1,500 people protested.
It’s part of a growing mood of anti-fascism in Greece. Every week we see counter-demonstrations. Golden Dawn has tried to establish offices everywhere to find the people who voted for it. But wherever it goes it is being blocked by anti-fascists.
There were celebrations to mark the anniversary of the Athens polytechnic uprising last month. Golden Dawn said it would go into schools and slander the uprising. But its members didn’t get in—teachers organised against them.
In my area you can even see anti-fascist posters painted by the primary school children. Now a national demonstration has been called in Athens on
19 January, followed by a concert. It's already being supported by unions, immigrant organisations, actors and singers.
There’s a real mood against Golden Dawn, after the shock of its recent successes. Now we want to try and take things to the next level.