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Francis Coquelin

Greece

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Golden Dawn MP's live TV assault shocks Greece

Ilias Kasidiaris, a high-profile member of the neo-Nazi party, lashed out at two prominent leftwingers, then went on the run

Greek talk shows are by nature combustible affairs. But rarely have they witnessed anything quite as shocking as the moment when a leading member of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party launched a physical assault on two female politicians.

Ten days before the debt-stricken nation goes to the polls in an election that will not only decide Greece's fate but quite possibly the course of Europe too, the attack, captured on live TV, involved Ilias Kasidiaris, a high profile member of Golden Dawn, lashing out at two prominent leftwing MPs – all part of a seven-strong panel attending the popular Good Morning Greece TV show.

The nation that triggered Europe's debt drama is now a boiling cauldron. In the third year of its worst crisis since the second world war, it has reached the point where fury becomes violence.

Within hours of a state prosecutor issuing an arrest warrant for Kasidiaris, word of the unprecedented punch-up had travelled across the country. And in the tavernas and cafeneia of villages and towns, on radio and TV channels, the overarching question was: is this the beginning of something worse to come?

In an atmosphere bristling with the discordant feelings of anger and fear, the assault on Rena Dourou and Liana Kanelli, deputies with the radical Syriza and KKE communist parties, has added an explosive element to an election campaign that is already electric and has also illuminated the dark role of Golden Dawn.

Kasidiaris, the party's 31-year-old spokesman, first turned on Dourou, hurling a glass of water into her face, for daring to suggest that Golden Dawn "would take the country back 500 years" if they were elected.

He then turned his fists on Kanelli when the communist MP stood up in protest. Within minutes of the talk show's presenter, Giorgos Papadakis, intervening to break up the brawl, the MP had fled.

Across Greece's deeply divisive political landscape there was agreement that the extraordinary incident, replayed on TV channels throughout the day, had unmasked Golden Dawn for what it really is: a group of intolerant extremists who resort to violence to make their point.

Across the political spectrum, politicians said that the party, voted into parliament in last month's inconclusive poll for the first time since the collapse of military rule, had revealed its true colours. From garnering a mere 0.46% three years ago, the extreme rightwing party captured 7% of the vote in what was widely interpreted as a protest against mainstream parties enforcing unpopular austerity measures in return for EU-IMF funds keeping the moribund Greek economy afloat.

"Now that they have seen what this party is really about, Greeks will have no alibi to vote for them again," said Prokopis Pavlopoulos, a former conservative New Democracy minister who also participated in the talk show. "I, personally, will never take part in a debate with a member of Golden Dawn again."

Several hours after the incident, with the group still resolutely refusing to apologise, two MPs with the socialist Pasok party were attacked by Golden Dawn supporters as they campaigned in northern Greece.

In a statement KKE, the communist party of Greece, appealed to "workers, young people and pensioners" who voted for Golden Dawn to abandon the extremists. A spokesman said the stridently xenophobic group had used its anti-immigrant, anti-bailout platform to hoodwink Greeks into voting for it.

Led by Nikos Michaloliakos, and attracting an eclectic mix of soldiers, shepherds, workers and low-income professionals, Golden Dawn has fiercely denied any association with neo-Nazism – despite its embrace of Third Reich paraphernalia and its symbol bearing an uncanny resemblance to the swastika.

In recent months, and especially in the weeks that have elapsed between Greece's two ballots, the party has been linked to a number of attacks on migrants, liberals, human rights activists and journalists, particularly women.

Michaloliakos, an open sympathiser of the 1967-74 colonels' regime, says such accusations are part of a conspiracy conducted by the "filthy media" against a political force that is intent on breaking with the corrupt and crooked policies of the past and bringing a "new golden dawn" to Greece.

With Golden Dawn's ratings dropping to under 5%, none have been more vociferous in their denial of the party's links with fascist elements than Kasidiaris, a weightlifting enthusiast who served in the Greek military's special forces before joining the party.

The MP stands accused of participating in an armed robbery that saw a Greek postgraduate student being fatally stabbed in 2007. Mention of his alleged complicity appears to have set off Kasidiaris during the talk show appearance that has highlighted Greece's teetering position on the edge of dysfunction and despair.

http://www.guardian....e?newsfeed=true

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Low these fake nazi's like hitler would

Not put him on a death march to the concentration camp

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And I thought they hated Nazi's?

SMH, backwards people.

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Why's man shouting Akhi for?

Akhiii akhiii

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Why's man shouting Akhi for?

Akhiii akhiii

it's pik ak

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everyone is greece is hungry

look at the result at the highest levels

how can he slap

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Scum bag swinging an old lady like that.

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modern day greeks <<<<<<<<<<<<<

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