A 45-year-old member of Greece’s extremist right-wing Golden Dawn party has been arrested for raping a 15-year-old Albanian girl. Greece’s To Vima (The Step) reports that, prior to his arrest, the accused individual and other “unknown persons” threatened the girl’s relatives with repercussions from the Golden Dawn and requested that they stay silent.
The 45-year-old met the girl, whose Albanian family has been living in Greece for twenty years, a few months ago and offered her a job in the office of a small company. She at first accepted the offer but then chose to leave after which, in February, the man “lured her to a deserted area and raped her.” He then offered her 100 euros to keep quiet about the assault and to meet with him again.
Along with its neo-Nazi associations — the party’s flag has a symbol on it resembling a swastika — the Golden Dawn is known for its anti-immigrant platform. Some of the Golden Dawn’s members have proposed deporting illegal immigrants to islands. Via its land border with Turkey, Greece is the access point for the majority of illegal immigrants into Europe and the insolvent Greek government is poorly equipped to guard its borders, and to provide services for illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, many parts of Africa and elsewhere.
Greece, like a number of European countries, now has members of extreme right-wing groups in its Parliament; the ongoing trial of mass killer Anders Behring Breivik in Oslo has highlighted his troubling beliefs and the violence that can result. The Golden Dawn won 6.95 percent of the vote in Greece’s second election in June. To Vima also reports that as many as half of Greek police voted for the right-wing party, which has so far made headlines for ugly reasons including one Golden Dawn MP assaulting two female politicians on a televised debate. The MP, Ilias Kasidiaris, has eluded arrest and remains in hiding and Greeks have questioned why the police have yet to arrest him.
As troubling as the Golden Dawn is, it is not alone in its anti-immigrant stance. Newly installed Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said that he would “kick illegal immigrants out of Greece’s public squares, as supporters waved Greek flags” at his final campaign rally and it remains to be seen how his government will address the issues of immigrants in Greece.
The new Greek government has come into power on a somewhat awkward note. Samaras revealed that he needs an emergency eye operation (for first-stage retina detachment surgery) and has cancelled his first parliamentary meeting. His new Finance Minister, Vassilis Rapanos, was to be sworn in today but had to be rushed to the hospital after fainting and complaining of strong abdominal pain, dizziness and nausea. His condition has reportedly been stabilized.
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