Greeks remember rapper whose murder sparked neo-Nazi probe
Greek anti-fascist groups are holding street events this week in memory of a leftist rapper whose murder sparked a crackdown on the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.
Athens: Greek anti-fascist groups are holding street events this week in memory of a leftist rapper whose murder sparked a crackdown on the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.
"A series of cultural and political events will be held to root out the neo-Nazi menace," the groups said in a statement ahead of Thursday`s first anniversary of the killing.
Street gatherings will be held on Thursday in Keratsini, the western Athens district where Pavlos Fyssas, 34, was murdered outside a cafeteria near his home last September.
A sculpture of Fyssas will be unveiled on the spot where he died, and a concert in his memory will be held in central Athens on Friday.
Fyssas was fatally stabbed by a Golden Dawn supporter during a street brawl on September 18, 2013.
His murder shocked the nation and prompted a rapid response from the authorities, who until then had done little to stem violence blamed on the party.
Fyssas` mother Magda says his murder exposed the true face of the neo-Nazi group -- which claims to reject violence and at the time was organising food handouts for impoverished Greeks to boost its popularity.
"We owe this knowledge to Pavlos," she told the Ethnos daily. "If anything, it taught people to vanquish fear."
Two weeks after Fyssas` death the authorities unleashed a crackdown against Golden Dawn that continues to this day.
The party`s 18 lawmakers were progressively indicted on charges of belonging to a criminal organisation and several were placed in pre-trial detention, including Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos.
Investigating magistrates said the group had committed dozens of criminal acts dating to 1987, including at least two murders in the previous two years.
Formerly on the fringe of Greek politics, Golden Dawn surged in popularity in the wake of the country`s debt crisis, tapping into widespread anger over immigration and austerity reforms.
The far-right party recently scored new election victories, sending its first deputies to the European Parliament.
And its ratings remain high, especially in areas hit by soaring unemployment.
"In Keratsini, 48 percent of people are unemployed...there is disgust towards the established political class," said the area`s former mayor Loukas Tzanis.
The Golden Dawn trials are expected to start by the end of the year, with most of the defendants facing at least 10 years in prison if convicted.
"I`d like to believe that they will be punished severely," Magda Fyssas told Ethnos.
"But we will receive no justice...they killed our child. It would have been better if they had killed us too," she said.