A Member of Parliament from the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party wanted in a roundup of its members on charges of belonging to a criminal organization gave himself up to police on the morning of Sept. 29, officials said, waving as he was surrounded by a squadron of media.
Christos Pappas, described by prosecutors as the right-hand of the party leader Nikos Michaloliakos, who was arrested a day before along with four other of his MP’s, showed up at police headquarters.
Like five other Golden Dawn lawmakers now in custody, Pappas will be formally charged with membership in a criminal organization with intent to commit crimes, in an escalation of a government crackdown after a fatal stabbing blamed on a supporter charged with killing a 34-year-old anti-fascist hip-hop artist with a knife.
This is the first time since 1974 that sitting members of a Greek Parliament have been arrested as the government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who had been charged with going soft on the party that was blamed for a rampage of violence since being elected 15 months ago, including scores of assaults on immigrants, leftists, Communists and gay, cracked down after the murder.
Golden Dawn has 18 seats in Parliament and its support was rising from the 6.97 percent it won last year to nearly double that in some polls this year before plummeting in the wake of the killing.