Neo-Nazis attendance causes row in Greece

2013-10-26 22:01
(Mike Theiler, AFP)

(Mike Theiler, AFP)

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Athens - A political row erupted in Greece on Saturday following a provincial governor's decision to invite the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party to an annual parade honouring resistance to fascism.

Thessaloniki's governor, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, insists he is bound by law to invite lawmakers from all parties represented in parliament, including neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn which has 18 MPs, to the parade on Monday.

"We cannot act outside the law," the governor's office said as he came under fire on all sides.

Thessaloniki's mayor has threatened to walk out in protest if the neo-Nazis attend the city parade and a moderate leftist party has already announced its own boycott of the ceremony.

"It's an issue. Let's see who leaves, me or them," Mayor Yiannis Boutaris told reporters on Saturday.

The socialist party of deputy prime minister Evangelos Venizelos, which is part of the ruling Greek coalition, also blasted Tzitzikostas.

"It seems the governor has not been informed that Golden Dawn has been labelled a criminal organisation by magistrates," the socialist party said.

Golden Dawn's leader is currently in prison awaiting trial and several of its MPs have been indicted on criminal charges, in an ongoing investigation sparked by the murder of an anti-fascist musician last month.

A military parade is held annually in Thessaloniki on 28 October to commemorate Greece's resistance to the Axis Powers during World War II.

A dispute had also arisen within the government earlier this month after the defence minister decided to bring back tanks to the parade, three years after they were removed to save cost.

A private donor, identified by media as leading refiner Motor Oil Hellas, has stepped forward to provide fuel for the tanks free of charge.
Read more on:    greece  |  protests

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