The upcoming trial of Greece’s extreme right Golden Dawn party, scheduled for April 20, has caused the firm reaction of citizens and business owners in the district of Korydallos, Athens, where Greece’s largest prison is located. The Nazi-inspired party members’ and supporters’ trial is to be held in a specially designed room inside the prison. Among the 70 charged of running and belonging to the xenophobic criminal organization are the party’s leader Nikos Michaloliakos and MPs Ilias Kasidiaris, Christos Papas, Ioannis Lagos, Giorgos Germenis, Nikos Kouzilos, Panagiotis Iliopoulos, ex member Stathis Mpoukouras and one underaged person that will be tried separately.
Local officials are bracing for trouble, noting that anti-fascist groups have already called protests at the beginning of the trial. “The trial cannot and must not be held here,” Korydallos’ mayor Stavros Kasimatis told French news agency AFP, adding that “this is Greece’s biggest trial in 40 years. It will last at least 18 months. There will be anti-fascist group gatherings and Golden Dawn supporters will perhaps muster as well.”
On their behalf, anti-fascist groups, political parties and unions have already declared their intention to hold a major demonstration outside the prison premises on the trial’s first day, next Monday. As the Korydallos mayor said, there are attempts to keep rival groups apart and the police will probably be forced to erect barriers on one of Korydallos’ main streets, just a few meters from the district’s central school complex and nurseries, causing inconvenience to the neighborhood’s citizens. “How can the city possibly operate under these conditions?” Kasimatis asked.
It is reminded that Korydallos prison last hosted a trial of this magnitude over a decade ago, when Greek authorities dismantled the “November 17” terrorist group.
The prosecutor handling the criminal investigation of Golden Dawn highlighted in a 700-page argument the murders of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas (a.k.a. Killah P) in September 2013 and Pakistani immigrant Luqman Shahzad in January 2013, as well as several individual assaults on foreign nationals and leftist activists, including the attack against PAME members in Piraeus, just a few days before Fyssas’ murder. All the 16 MPs Golden Dawn had in the previous Parliament, which was dissolved for the January 25 general elections, will appear before the judge. Thirteen of the MPs were re-elected along with four new members, making Golden Dawn the third largest party currently represented in the Greek Parliament. After the maximum 18-month pre-trial custody period expired, party leader Michaloliakos and MP Pappas were released from custody. At the moment, a total of 24 members -including the rest of the arrested MPs- are behind bars.