Death stuns government and political parties rally against extremists.
By Andy Dabilis for Southeast European Times in Athens -- 23/09/13
Demonstrators run away from police during a clash in Athens following the stabbing death of rapper Pavlos Fyssas. [AFP]
The stabbing death of an anti-fascist rapper and subsequent arrest of a member of the neo-Nazi Golden party on a murder charge ratcheted up tension in Greece in the wake of a number of attacks by the extremists on Communists and immigrants.
Police said a 45-year-old suspect, whose party membership card was found in a garbage bin at his house, was taken into custody for the September 18th slaying of Pavlos Fyssas, 34, a hip-hop artist who went by the stage name of Killah P.
That came after an argument between the victim and other Golden Dawn members at a cafe while watching a Champions League soccer match on TV, officials said.
Police said the suspect, who has not been identified, came with the "intention to kill," parked his vehicle, got out and stabbed the victim twice. Witnesses identified the suspect as the attacker.
The killing and arrest triggered protests throughout Greece with violence in several cities. Media reports indicated that police used tear gas to repel demonstrators, who set fire to trash bins and threw objects at police.
Golden Dawn spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris denied his party's involvement and said it would respond with lawsuits. He said opponents were unjustly accusing the party of creating "a climate of polarisation and war."
Antonis Klapsis, head of research for the Konstandinos Karamanlis Institute of Democracy in Athens, told SETimes that, the "government's quick response shows it is determined not to put up with this or tolerate these actions. … This made it clear you can't play with these people any more."
Golden Dawn, which got only 0.29 percent of the vote in 2009, won 6.97 percent last June and 18 seats in Parliament, where it has been a raucous presence, and has polled as high as 12 percent in some surveys.
Fyssas, who went by the stage name of Killah P., was killed September 18th during a fight in an Athens café. [AFP]
Golden Dawn MP Michalis Avranitis tried to distance the party from the suspect. "Yes, this man, as it turns out, has declared himself to be a member of Golden Dawn. But Golden Dawn has 1 million supporters. If in a restaurant, two drunken idiots have a fight and someone is stabbed, should we look at their ideology and blame that?" he asked.
Alex Sakellariou, a sociologist at Panteion University who specialises in studying extremism and Golden Dawn, said he wasn't surprised. “This killing was coming toward our society but no one wanted to see … Golden Dawn is the monster which is now out of his cave,” he told SETimes.
“The political system lost its chance to put Golden Dawn to the museum of neo-Nazi history five or six years ago … when they were of minor electoral importance,” he added.
The incident brought unity between the country's other political parties who are otherwise at odds. New Democracy officials said the killing was "the result of the Nazi belief of hatred nurtured and promoted by Golden Dawn" and called upon authorities to show utmost strictness.
Alexis Tsipras, leader of the major opposition party Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) condemned the killing and said it was part of a “destabilisation and disorientation plan orchestrated by extreme right centers and the neo-Nazi gang Golden Dawn.”
Socialist PASOK, Samaras' coalition partner, called Golden Dawn a “criminal organisation” targeting Greeks and immigrants, while the Democratic Left called for the “institutional asphyxiation” of the party.
Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said, “We call on all political forces to raise a barrier to the vicious cycle of tension and violence. Democracy needs stability, cohesion and responsibility from all."
(Kathimerini, 18/09/13; AP, 18/09/13) 18/09/13)
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