Greek Prosecutors to Review Video of Threat by Extremist

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ATHENS -- A video showing the spokesman of the extremist right-wing party Golden Dawn threatening the lives of anti-fascist protesters at an event in Crete has been sent to prosecutors, the Greek police said on Monday.

In a video posted on the Internet, the spokesman, Ilias Kasidiaris, can be heard arguing with police officers after demonstrators gathered near the site of one of the party's events on the island on Sunday. Mr. Kasidiaris, who in June was charged with assaulting two rival lawmakers during a live television debate, told the police there would be deaths if the protesters were not removed.

"Believe me, you'll have dead people by tonight," Mr. Kasidiaris can be heard telling a senior police official. On Monday, as political parties condemned his outburst, the Greek police said the video had been sent to a prosecutor in Crete.

Members of the increasingly popular Golden Dawn and its sympathizers have been linked to a rise in violence and intimidation against immigrants in Greece.

The new scrutiny of the party comes as the government is trying to avoid social unrest, as many people are struggling to cope with the country's worst economic crisis in a decade. Obtaining relief from foreign lenders for Greece's huge debts has meant agreeing to increasingly painful austerity measures.

While violent clashes with immigrants have gotten Golden Dawn the most attention, its members have also teamed up with religious protesters and scuffled with theatergoers and actors to protest a production of Terrence McNally's 1997 play "Corpus Christi," which depicts Jesus and the Twelve Apostles as gay.

Mr. Kasidiaris, the Golden Dawn spokesman, was also filmed separately explaining how the party's 18 lawmakers could take advantage of their parliamentary immunity to bear arms. "We can now carry guns legally, and will not be arrested on the spot in the event of an incident," he said during another gathering of Golden Dawn supporters over the weekend, in images broadcast on Skai, a private television channel. "This means we can be more relaxed about our movements," he added.

Last month, Greece's Parliament voted to lift the immunity of three Golden Dawn lawmakers, including Mr. Kasidiaris, who could face trial on several charges. The other two lawmakers, Giorgos Germenis and Panagiotis Iliopoulos, have been linked to attacks on immigrant vendors in the port of Rafina, near Athens, in September. Mr. Kasidiaris, who has been implicated in a 2007 armed robbery, claims to be the victim of political persecution.

Mr. Kasidiaris's brother Anastasios was arrested in October after pointing a loaded gun at a fellow diner in a restaurant in Salonika, a port city in northeastern Greece. A few days after that episode, another Golden Dawn member, Christos Pappas, was charged after intervening as the police tried to detain a nationalist demonstrator protesting against the McNally play.

At the party's gathering in Crete on Sunday, Mr. Pappas prompted controversy by unfurling the flag of Greece's 1967-74 military dictatorship, depicting a phoenix and a soldier, to loud applause from party supporters.

world

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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