After a five-year-long trial, the Greek court on Wednesday found members of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn guilty of murder and assault. The neo-Nazi group’s leader was convicted of running a criminal organization.
Thousands of police officers were stationed around the Athens courthouse as the verdict was read and tear gas and water cannons were used to disperse crowds. Over 10,000 protesters gathered to take part in antifascist rallies outside.
The defendants included Golden Dawn founder Nikos Michaloliakos and members of his inner circle. They now face 10 years in prison. The prosecution caused an uproar in 2019 when chief prosecutor Adamantia Economou suggested acquitting party leaders due to lack of evidence.
The neo-Nazi party was founded in the 1980s and rose to prominence during Greece’s decades-long financial crisis, entering parliament in 2012 as the third-largest group with 12% of the vote. The prosecution began in connection with the murder of the Pavlos Fyssas in 2013. The rapper was stabbed to death in Athens after being chased by a gang of Golden Dawn thugs. Preliminary investigations found that the party operated as a paramilitary organization with orders passed from the central leadership to local groups to carry out attacks against migrants, often leading to serious injury.
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