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Athens blast hits office of neo-Nazi Greek party
By MARION FISCHEL JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
12/05/2012
"It was a powerful blast that caused a lot of damage,” says a police spokesman. “It looks like terrorism."
 
ATHENS – A homemade bomb went off at the offices of the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party in an industrial suburb of Athens on Tuesday morning.

Although no injuries were reported, a wall was damaged and windows in a nearby building were shattered.

Bomb disposal experts and police rushed to the scene, as did Golden Dawn’s spokesman, Ilias Kasidiaris, who appeared dressed in a white forensic suit.

“It was a powerful blast that caused a lot of damage,” said a police spokesman. “It looks like terrorism.”

He added that the attack probably was the work of a group on the far Left of the Greek political spectrum.

The once obscure ultra-nationalist People’s Association – Golden Dawn, known colloquially by the second part of its name, is considered a neo-Nazi group – and has become increasingly popular since Greece’s financial crisis began. It garnered 6.9 percent of the vote in June’s parliamentary elections.

Its members use a Nazi-type salute and its emblem resembles a swastika. Golden Dawn is daily winning over many who are fed up with illegal immigration, political corruption and austerity policies. It is especially popular in neighborhoods that, once quiet middle class havens, have been overrun by illegal immigrants.

“I was never afraid to go out alone at night, but I have been mugged and am lucky I was not killed,” said an Athens resident who preferred to give only her initials, N.C. She said she nevertheless would not think of voting for Golden Dawn.

Although it has not officially proclaimed itself a neo-Nazi party, it has praised individual Nazis.

Leader Nikos Mihaloliakos himself has said, “We are racist and nationalist and we are not hiding that.”

Golden Dawn has said it wants to rid Greece of all foreigners, including what it calls the “stench” of immigrants.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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