Greek PM Samaris calls to ‘deracinate’ Golden Dawn party

Speaking at American Jewish Committee meet in NY, PM says there is no room for neo-Nazis in democratic world.

Golden Dawn supporters in Athens 370 (R) (photo credit: Yorgos Karahalis / Reuters)
Golden Dawn supporters in Athens 370 (R)
(photo credit: Yorgos Karahalis / Reuters)
The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party must be eliminated, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told an American Jewish Committee gathering in New York Monday.
“It is important to me to deracinate this group,” Samaras told the Jewish leaders, speaking in reference to this weekend’s arrests of several top-ranking party members, including several MPs.
“All of the leading members of Golden Dawn have been arrested and are being prosecuted,” he said. “They are a criminal group of people who will be tried in a democratic manner.” The arrests came as law enforcement officials accused Golden Dawn of involvement in the recent murder of Pavlos Fissas, a popular anti-racism rapper, and after repeated calls by Jewish groups to ban the party.
“There is no room for the neo-Nazis in any part of the democratic world,” Samaras said, praising his government’s actions against Golden Dawn as “unique” in Europe, likely a veiled jab at Ukraine and Hungary, both of which have been struggling with the entrance of parties similar to Golden Dawn into their respective parliaments.
Samaras’s comments came one day after Benjamin Albalas, head of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, told The Jerusalem Post that he thought that “the government will go until the end” in combating Golden Dawn.
As part of its efforts against Golden Dawn, the government said on Monday it would present a bill targeting racist hate speech.
“(The bill) will be submitted to parliament in a matter of days. It has symbolic and moral value,” Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos told reporters, adding it would align Greek legislation with European standards.
The government is also preparing another law that would suspend Golden Dawn’s state funding on the grounds that its leadership is facing prosecution on felony charges.
“Democracy can’t fund its opponents,” Venizelos said.