EU criticises the establishment’s failure to deal with violence in a country suffering from effects of harsh budget cuts
Helena Smith in Athens
The Observer, Saturday 1 June 2013 20.18 BST
It wasn’t just that their symbols looked like swastikas. Or that thousands of Greek flags filled the marble square beneath the Acropolis. Or that they were marking the 560th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople.
It was that there were so many of them. Angry men and angry women furiously screaming “Greece belongs to Greeks” in the heart of ancient Athens, as tourists – some befuddled, some shocked – looked on or fled at the sight of neo-Nazis coming to town.
“Now we are in the thousands,” thundered Nikos Michaloliakos, the bespectacled mathematician who leads Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party. “Long live victory!”
Like the soldiers on whom they model themselves, the Greeks who subscribe to the ultra-nationalist, neo-fascist dogma of Golden Dawn are the first to say they are at war. This week, as Antonis Samaras’s coalition government struggled to contain an escalating crisis over efforts to curb the extremists, it was they who appeared to be winning that war…
(Read the full report on the Guardian’s website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/01/greece-golden-dawn-violence-eu-crisis)