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Tuesday, October 09, 2012 11:16 AM

Hostile Reception For Merkel in Greece; Anti-Fascist Protesters Claim 'Tortured by Police' Following Golden Dawn Clash; Radicalism Takes Hold

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I am not sure what German Chancellor Angela Merkel expected to accomplish in Greece, but whatever it was, it does not seem to have worked.

The Financial Times reports on the Hostile reception for Merkel in Athens

Angela Merkel flew in to a hostile reception from angry Greeks on Tuesday as security forces took tough measures to restrict or eliminate protests in central Athens, firing tear gas at demonstrators who tried to break through a police barrier.

Ms Merkel was given the red carpet treatment and full military honours at Athens airport. But on the streets it was a different matter, with more than 7,000 police officers deployed to keep demonstrators away from the German leader.

Sections of the capital were cordoned off and public gatherings in certain areas, including outside the German embassy, were banned.

Thousands of Greeks gathered in Syntagma Square in central Athens as Ms Merkel arrived. The demonstration – while vocal – was mostly peaceful but the mood was angry.

Giant banners declared: “Angela, you are not welcome,” and “Out with the Fourth Reich”. One caricature showed the chancellor in a swastika armband, being kicked from behind by Karagiozis, a Greek puppet representing the country’s impoverished past.

Public sector unionists holding their second demonstration against the visit in as many days voiced resentment of what many Greeks see as excessive austerity policies imposed by Germany.

“She [Ms Merkel] came to tell us that we have to swallow more measures . . . It’s unacceptable, she has no idea at all what Greeks are going through,” said Lakis Papazoglou, a former local government worker unemployed since his contract ended this year. "She has no idea at all what Greeks are going through"

A jeep carrying men dressed in full Nazi regalia, and giving the familiar salute, drew huge cheers when it rolled down Stadiou Street towards the main square.

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the radical leftwing Syriza coalition, the main parliamentary opposition, spoke to the defiant mood in Syntagma Square, saying: “The democratic tradition of Europe won’t allow a European people, the Greeks, to become a guinea pig [for harsh reforms] and a giant graveyard.”
Anti-Fascist Protesters 'Tortured by Police'

Meanwhile Greek anti-fascist protesters 'tortured by police' after Golden Dawn clash.
Fifteen anti-fascist protesters arrested in Athens during a clash with supporters of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn have said they were tortured in the Attica General Police Directorate (GADA) – the Athens equivalent of Scotland Yard – and subjected to what their lawyer describes as an Abu Ghraib-style humiliation.

Members of a second group of 25 who were arrested after demonstrating in support of their fellow anti-fascists the next day said they were beaten and made to strip naked and bend over in front of officers and other protesters inside the same police station.

Some said they were burned on the arms with a cigarette lighter, and they said police officers videoed them on their mobile phones and threatened to post the pictures on the internet and give their home addresses to Golden Dawn, which has a track record of political violence.

One man with a bleeding head wound and a broken arm that he said had been sustained during his arrest alleged the police continued to beat him in GADA and refused him medical treatment until the next morning. Another said the police forced his legs apart and kicked him in the testicles during the arrest.

In response to the allegations, Christos Manouras, press spokesman for the Hellenic police, said: "There was no use of force by police officers against anyone in GADA. The Greek police examine and investigate in depth every single report regarding the use of violence by police officers; if there are any responsibilities arising, the police take the imposed disciplinary action against the officers responsible. There is no doubt that the Greek police always respect human rights and don't use violence."
Rise of Neo-Nazis

I do not know how widespread police support is for Golden Dawn. However, the Greek government is very concerned as noted in Greek State Tries to Stem Neo-Nazi Rise.

Stopping the rise of the neo-Nazis is going to be very difficult if there is widespread police support for Golden Dawn.

Radicalism Takes Hold

One thing is for sure, five years of economic depression is driving Greek citizens away from the center towards radical left and radical right parties.

Those parties have one thing in common, they want to default on Greek debt.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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