ATHENS—“Burn them alive!”
The sinister shouts of far-right thugs to migrants and refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos last month made news all over the world. The thugs had attacked and injured hundreds of refugees camping in the central square of Mytilene, the island’s capital. The police didn’t intervene. While many hoped it was a one-off, the scenes were repeated two weeks ago, when Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visited the island. The same far-right groups attacked activists, journalists and even police officers. Again, no arrests were made.
For those following Greek politics, this might sound all too familiar. Since coming to prominence in 2012, when it first entered the Greek parliament, the far-right Golden Dawn party, which is behind these protests, has become the protagonist of many stories of violence and impunity. In 2013, the Greek government was forced to act, after a neo-Nazi member of Golden Dawn murdered an anti-fascist musician in Athens. The party’s leadership and dozens of its members were arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy, accused of planning the murder and hundreds of other offenses. The case file runs well over 3,000 pages.