Neo-Nazi groups have attacked leftist rallies in Greece twice in the last week as police announced the arrest of a member of a far-right organisation believed to the modern offshoot of the banned Golden Dawn.
The attacks last Sunday happened in the Athens suburb of Neo Iraklio, where demonstrators were advertising the 9th of October anniversary of the conviction of dozens of Golden Dawn members for running a criminal gang and attacks on leftists and immigrants, including the 2013 murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssa.
As the demonstrators from Movement Against Racism and the Fascist Threat (KEERFA) gathered in the neighbourhood square they were set upon by neo-Nazis armed with sticks, sending four people to the hospital.
Petros Konstantinou, speaking for KEERFA, told local television that, “the fascists were armed with sticks and organised, they are well-known fascists,” and accused the local police of failing to come to the scene for more than 20 minutes.
But despite the charges of police incompetence, on Monday morning in the suburb of Ano Liosia, police arrested a 25-year-old man after he was easily identified from a series of Nazi-themed tattoos on his arms and shoulders that were caught on social media footage of the attack. The suspect, who has not been officially named by police, is apparently well known to both law enforcement and organised leftists, having been arrested at previous demonstrations for assault, including at an anti-vax protest in July.
The suspect is said to belong to the Propatria Organisation, which local media described as an offshoot of the now defunct Golden Dawn group.
Hours earlier in Ilioupoli, a suburb of Thessaloniki, youth members of the local Communist party posting flyers for a celebration of the 9th of October convictions were also attacked by about 15 members of a local fascist group, said by local media to have been wielding chains, bats and tasers against the leftists.
Thessaloniki has been the scene of repeated clashes in recent weeks as leftists complain that local police have encouraged right wing groups to attack their protests, including with knives. And there have been multiple cases of police violence against both sides, according to media reports.