Greek police ban marches by Golden Dawn and anti-fascists

Greek police ban marches by Golden Dawn and anti-fascists

ATHENS - Reuters
Greek police ban marches by Golden Dawn and anti-fascists

Protesters hold a banner as they march during an anti-fascist rally in Athens Oct. 26. REUTERS photo

Greek police have banned marches by far-right Golden Dawn supporters and anti-fascists in Athens on Nov. 30 to prevent clashes among the rival groups.

Tensions have risen since the killing of an anti-fascism rapper by a Golden Dawn member in September and the fatal shootings of two party supporters this month in retaliation, responsibility for which was claimed by a group calling itself the "Militant People's Revolutionary Forces".

The groups would be allowed to hold planned rallies in central Athens but not to march, "for reasons of public safety", police said in a statement on Nov. 29.

The decision came after Golden Dawn called a rally in Syntagma Square in front of parliament on Saturday, in its highest-profile public initiative since a government crackdown led to its leader and two lawmakers ordered detained pending trial on charges of belonging to a criminal group.

Anti-fascist and leftist groups responded by calling rival rallies in central Athens to protest against Golden Dawn. 

Golden Dawn, Greece's third most popular party, is demanding the release of party leader Nikos Mihaloliakos and the lawmakers, whose arrests in September stunned a nation unused to seeing elected politicians detained, since an era of military rule ended four decades ago.

"No jail time for the nationalists - Greece will be victorious" the party wrote on its website.