You Should Be Scared For Every Immigrant Living In Greece

Société Générale’s Dylan Grice recently described the way Greek police were turning a blind eye to the Golden Dawn political party’s harassment of immigrants as “chilling.”

But judging by a report from BBC’s Paul Mason on the situation on Newsnight last night, “chilling” may not be a strong enough word to describe what’s going on in the streets of Greece right now.

It’s evolving into an incredibly scary scenario for immigrants who live in Greece. And Mason reports that Greek politicians, the media, and the police are all a part of it.

Meet Ilias Panagiotaros, a Greek MP and “the de facto commander of the Golden Dawn attack squads,” as Mason describes him.

Ilias Panagiotaros

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Panagiotaros allegedly led an attack on a Greek theatre where an Albanian was directing a play last week.

Golden Dawn supporters clashed with riot police and hurled bricks while the actors and guests were trapped inside – unsure of whether help was on the way.

Golden Dawn theatre attack

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The theatre attack was not just an isolated incident. Golden Dawn “attack squads” roam the streets intimidating immigrants on a regular basis.

Below is a group of Golden Dawn supporters destroying the shops of immigrant storeholders at an outdoor market.

Golden Dawn immigrant intimidation violence

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Paul Mason reports that Golden Dawn is even talking about targeting kindergarten students:

Now Golden Dawn is suddenly everywhere. Its eight local offices at election time have become 60 nationwide. It is polling consistently as the third most popular party at 12%. Its parliamentarians have threatened to “drag migrant children from the kindergartens,” and requested a list of the kindergartens with high migrant numbers. This, the Greek education ministry has willingly provided.

And the police are reportedly in on it, which means victims have virtually nowhere to turn.

Panagiotaros told Mason that he estimates 50-60 per cent of the Greek police force supports Golden Dawn, and “every day it is growing,” – which means they don’t get involved when Golden Dawn is doing damage. Some Greeks claim terrible mistreatment at the hands of police who openly boast their allegiance to Golden Dawn as well.

And the media is just making things worse, Mason reports:

As the media have joined in – relentlessly identifying foreigners with crime – the far right’s poll rating has increased. Theodora Oikonomides, a journalist at the alternative radio network RadioBubble, who has covered the rise of Golden Dawn, voices a fear common to many:

“Golden Dawn’s favourite themes, such as xenophobia, homophobia and anti-Semitism have now become part of Greek public discourse, whether at the political or at the social level.”

Dylan Grice is right – this is definitely a story to be watching closely right now.

Paul Mason’s full Newsnight report is a must watch. View it on BBC here >

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