Greek police probe neo-Nazi party attacks on immigrants
ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
Supporters of ultra-right wing party Golden Dawn clash with riot police in the city of Corinth, Pelopponese, Greece, 23 August 2012. EPA photoGreek authorities launched a probe Saturday after the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party released a video of activists in uniform checking the papers of immigrant traders, then destroying their stalls and merchandise.
The police said they had opened an investigation into suspected usurping of authority and damage to property against the perpetrators -- including two of Golden Dawn's 18 members of parliament -- of Friday's incident in Rafina, near Athens.
The public order ministry said its minister Nikos Dentias had called for those responsible to be punished.
The video showed some 30 militants, uniformed and carrying Greek flags, checking the papers of traders who looked foreign then kicking over their stalls, as police and passers-by made no reaction.
The militants then staged a parade, which a Golden Dawn MP said was to "honour the Virgin Mary" during a parish fete in the coastal resort.
The Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) which won 18 out of 300 seats in June, is the first neo-Nazi party to be elected to parliament in Greek history.
The party is suspected of being behind a number of xenophobic attacks on immigrants, which have recently increased.
The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner Nils Muiznieks has called on Greece to examine whether the party is legal.
Muiznieks has called Golden Dawn the "most overtly extremist and Nazi party in Europe." He also called for close scrutiny of alleged links between the party and police.
Last month arsonists set fire to an office of Golden Dawn in central Athens, causing extensive damage, the day after a young Iraqi was knifed to death by five men in a probable hate attack that many blamed on the party.
Police have been accused of turning a blind eye to the party's violent activities but Dentias told parliament recently he would not tolerate them.