Anti-fascist protests across Greece turn violent

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 18, 2013 at 3:28 pm •  Published: September 18, 2013
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KERATSINI, Greece (AP) — Violent clashes broke out in several Greek cities Wednesday after a musician described as an anti-fascist activist was stabbed to death by a man who said he belonged to the far-right Golden Dawn party. More than 75 people were detained.

The death of Pavlos Fyssas, 34, drew condemnation from across Greece's political spectrum and from abroad. While the extremist Golden Dawn has been blamed for numerous violent attacks in the past, the overnight stabbing is the most serious violence so far directly attributed to a member.

Golden Dawn leader Nicholas Michaloliakos denied that the party had anything to do with the attack.

Fyssas, a hip-hop singer whose stage name was Killah P, died in a state hospital early Wednesday after being stabbed twice outside a cafe in the Keratsini area west of Athens.

Police said a 45-year-old man arrested at the scene admitted to attacking Fyssas and said he belonged to Golden Dawn. A knife with traces of blood was found near his car.

Clashes broke out Wednesday evening between riot police and thousands of protesters holding anti-fascist demonstrations in Fyssas' memory in Keratsini and another five cities.

In Keratsini, violence broke out near the scene of the stabbing, with hundreds of protesters attacking a nearby police station.

The confrontation lasted more than two hours, with riot police using tear gas to repel youths, who set fire to trash bins and smashed up sidewalks with hammers to throw rocks at police.

The clashes left a busy suburban road strewn with rocks and smoldering trash for several hundred meters (yards). Traffic outside the busy port of Piraeus was disrupted as police cordoned off streets to stop protesters from reaching the area.

Similar scenes played out in Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city, where about 6,000 demonstrators marched. Greek media also reported violent clashes in the western city of Patras, the northeastern city of Xanthi, the central city of Larissa and in Chania on the southern island of Crete.

Authorities said 41 people were detained in Keratsini, and 36 in Thessaloniki.

Earlier, friends of the victim and residents left flowers and candles at the spot of the attack, where blood still stained the sidewalk. The head of a small right-wing opposition party, Panos Kamenos of the Independent Greeks, was briefly assaulted by protesters when he attempted to visit the site.

Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos, whose Socialist party is part of the coalition government, said Golden Dawn had "violence as its priority and must be dealt with as a criminal organization."

Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, urged Greek authorities to examine banning the party altogether.

"Golden Dawn's openly xenophobic, neo-Nazi hatred even goes as far as murdering political opponents. This is shocking and intolerable by any standards, and more so in a European Union country," he said.