Last week in Athens I attended a teachers’ demonstration. The protest took place in the evening, the day before schools returned for the year. Cuts to education in Greece are savage, and teachers have been on strike for most of the semester already. I spoke to an art teacher, who advised that the entire art curriculum is to be cut where he teaches. At the demonstration, anti-fascist activists from KEERFA (The Movement United Against Racism and the Fascist Threat) were leafleting the crowd. There have been a number of attacks and killings by neo-nazi Golden Dawn members in Athens, targeting immigrant communities, and the Left has been mobilising in the neighbourhoods they are operating in, as well as within the trade unions and Left parties.
This morning I woke to the news that a Golden Dawn member had killed the anti-fascist activist Pavlos Fyssas, a 34-year-old hip-hop singer, in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The media is reporting that he was killed in the Keratsini neighbourhood outside a cafeteria, in an apparent ambush. The father of Pavlos was reported as saying that the Nazi activists had hunted his son and deliberately killed him. Activists have stated on Facebook that the killer was not alone, that Pavlos was surrounded by up to 30 Golden Dawn members, while police looked on.
As the anti-capitalist coalition ANTARSYA state in their call for mass action against the fascists, this was no accident: ‘Golden Dawn Nazi’s aim to kill’. Greek activists have called for a mass protest at the place Pavlos was killed, at 6pm tonight.
Anti-fascist activists have also been targeted in other ways, such as being sued by Golden Dawn in an attempt to interfere with their activist work. Recently, Petros Constantinou, coordinator of KEERFA and an Athens councillor, was also charged under the criminal code with ‘disseminating false information’ which ‘provoked anxiety or fear to the public or… disturbance to the country’s international relations’. Petros’ so-called ‘crime’ was to criticize the execution of Albanian prison escapees by the Greek Police, stating it was an extra-judicial killing and an escalation of state repression. The prosecution, commenced in late July, is being conducted by the state in cooperation with Golden Dawn.
The prosecution is a clear attempt to intimidate anti-fascist activists. Petros has also received death threats, with graffiti saying ‘Petros you will die’ painted outside his party office. A preliminary investigation has been completed and the case is marked as ‘urgent’. Government prosecutors are preparing to bring the matter before the courts and urgent action is needed. Left activists are increasingly concerned by the cooperation between the state, the Samaras government and Golden Dawn, against anti-fascist activists and the left.