Golden Dawn food rally raises tensions in Athens

The mayor’s office in Athens is poised for a major stand-off over food handouts in Syntagma square on Thursday after the far-right Golden Dawn party vowed to press ahead with the distribution of Easter treats to “Greeks only” amid mounting European pressure for the group to be outlawed. Pledging to defy a ban by the capital’s mayor, the extremists said they would go ahead with the handout of traditional Orthodox Easter fare, including lamb and eggs, to Greeks afflicted by draconian austerity.

“It is food that is aimed for the thousands of Greek families blighted by the genocidal policies of the memorandum,” said the party, referring to the loan agreement Athens has signed with international creditors to keep the debt-crippled country afloat. The neo-fascist organisation said the event was aimed solely at those Greeks who could not afford to enjoy Easter because of budget cuts and record levels of unemployment.

Emboldened by their growing popularity, the far-rightists have also conducted “Greek only” blood drives around the country and taken, increasingly, to storming state-run hospitals to root out foreign staff. Last week, protesters who gathered outside a hospital in Tripoli, in the southern Peloponnese, were attacked when they attempted to demonstrate against Golden Dawn members collecting blood. A journalist recording the event was brutally beaten, according to witnesses.

Read the full article here.

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