Rise of the far right: Dressed in black shirts and brandishing flares, these Golden Dawn supporters celebrate after they secured almost seven per cent of the vote
A neo-Nazi party who advocate forcing immigrants into work camps and planting landmines along the border are today savouring unprecedented political success in Greece.
Golden Dawn party will enter parliament with seven per cent of the vote after the electorate shunned the main parties who they blame for plunging the nation into austerity.
The obscure extreme-right group are one of the biggest winners in a poll which has plunged Greece into a fresh political crisis.
Extremism: A supporter of the far right party waves a Greek flag as they become the most extreme right-wing group to sit in parliament since Greece returned to democracy after the fall of a military junta in 1974
The party, who deny being neo-Nazis, have branded journalists ‘liars’ and warned all ‘traitors’ to run scared.
They adopt the Nazi salute and have a stylised swastika as their logo and have already made inroads into local government – in areas of Athens where there are large numbers of immigrants.
At the last general election they took just 0.23 per cent of the vote.
But the group has cultivated a benevolent image in some Athens’ neighbourhoods by dropping off food to needy families and escorting elderly residents to cash machines.
This time they easily passed the 3 per cent threshold to win their first seats in Parliament.
Flanked by burly, muscular men in tight black t-shirts, Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos marched down the street in Athens yelling ‘liars’ and ‘You must be ashamed for all your lies!’ at foreign journalists following him.
‘Greece is only the beginning,’ he shouted at them. When asked what that meant, he said: ‘You know very well’, wagging a finger at the television camera.
Ruling party hit: The coalition saw their share of the vote shrivel as the electorate turned to extremist parties including Golden Dawn
As they strode to the hotel, his supporters began chanting ‘Greece belongs to Greeks’ and ‘Foreigners get out of Greece’.
When asked what his first action in parliament would be, Mihaloliakos said: ‘All the illegal immigration out! Out of my country, out of my home!’
Asked how he planned to carry that out, he angrily said: ‘Use your imagination’.
As he entered the news conference, party members ordered assembled journalists to stand to attention.
Seats victory: Leader of extreme-right Golden Dawn party Nikolaos Mihaloliakos (centre) pledges to ‘get all immigrants out of the country’ after they secured their first seats in Parliament
Celebration: Supporters of the extreme-right Golden Dawn party react after securing almost 7 per cent of the vote yesterday. They cultivated a more moderate image on their road to success
Extreme: A supporter of the far-right Golden Dawn party holds a flare last night as they won 7 per cent of the vote. The party has vowed to kick out immigrants and put mines on Greece’s borders with Turkey
‘I’ll say one thing: ‘Veni, Vidi, Vici‘,’ Mihaloliakos said from the podium, surrounded by his bodyguards sitting motionless with their arms crossed.
‘You defamed me, you shut my mouth – I won.’
It is the first time such an extreme right party has been in parliament since the fall of a military dictatorship in 1974.
‘We will continue our struggle for a free Greece, free from foreign loan sharks and a Greece that is independent and proud, without the slavery of the bailout,’ said Mihaloliakos, who was elected to the Athens city council in 2010.
He promptly gave the Nazi salute on his first appearance there.
‘We will struggle for a Greece that is not a social jungle because of the millions of immigrants they brought here without asking us,’ he said.
The group – which openly displays books on Aryan supremacy at its party offices – has been frequently linked to racist attacks, but denies beating up migrants.
‘This victory is devoted to all the brave boys with the black T-shirts and the white letters reading Golden Dawn,’ Mihaloliakos said. ‘Those who betrayed the motherland – you should be scared now.’