In a transparent shot at the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party accused by critics of leading assaults on immigrants, Greek Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias told cadets at the police academy that the government will not tolerate racism and assaults.
At an event in Amydaleza, northwest of Athens, he made a nod to Archbishop Ieronymos,, who also there. “We need the words of solace of Archbishop Ieronymos,” Dendias told the cadets, “and not the rhetoric and actions of hit squads that wear the mantle of Christianity to hide their deeply abhorrent and un-Christian face.”
The public order minister added that “the Greek police may have the sometimes unpleasant task of imposing the law, but no one has the right to usurp its duties or to commit acts of violence against our fellow men based on the color of their skin or on their religion,” the newspaper Kathimerini reported.
Dendias been criticized by rights groups saying that his ministry is not doing enough to curb a wave of racially-motivated attacks against migrants, amid allegations that Golden Dawn, which was voted into Parliament in June’s elections on a vitriolic anti-migrant platform, also has a strong following inside the ranks of the police.
He has been the front man for the uneasy coalition government led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy Conservative leader who has not spoken out against Golden Dawn but has adopted some of their anti-immigrant stances.
Hours after Dendias spoke, an explosive device was detonated outside Golden Dawn’s local branch in Kavala, northern Greece.It caused some damage but no injuries. The party’s offices in Athens have also been targeted by bombs.