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Thousands march in protest at fascist attack on leftists

Golden Dawn thugs beat communists in Athens dock district

Thousands of Greeks have marched through Athens to protest against a violent attack on Communist Party members by the neonazi Golden Dawn.

About 50 men wielding crowbars and baseball bats set upon around 20 communists as they were putting up posters in the docks district of Perama - a communist stronghold for many years.

The attack left nine in hospital.

The victims included Piraeus metalworkers' union chairman Sotiris Pulikoyanis.

The Communist Party of Greece said: "The way in which they acted and the weapons employed ... are evidence of the murderous nature of the attack.

"Among the Golden Dawners, some of whom covered their faces or wore helmets or party shirts, were their leaders - well-known fascists and thugs."

The communists complained bitterly on Saturday that although they had been able to identify at least three of the attackers police were apparently unable to arrest them, leading to the suspicion the fascists had been tipped off about raids on their houses.

They contrasted this with the immediate arrest of around 100 fans of Thessaloniki football club PAOK, after fans attacked the Golden Dawn office when it threatened a PAOK player with Albanian roots.

Last week PAOK fan clubs condemned Golden Dawn for its racist abuse of the player.

The neonazi attack was condemned by all political parties except conservative New Democracy, which leads the ruling coalition.

Opposition party Syriza warned that Golden Dawn, after years of acting with impunity and attacking immigrants, is now confident enough to turn against left-wing parties.

Syriza noted the police failure to arrest anyone and said that this, coupled with the constant political support they receive from the government, had encouraged the fascists.

Port trade unions also condemned the attack and called on Piraeus residents to step up the fight for the abolition of anti-popular and anti-worker policies.

The huge problems created by Greece's bailout and cutbacks demanded by the troika lenders, which have resulted in unemployment soaring to 27.9 per cent and 58.8 per cent among people under 25, have driven desperate Greeks increasingly into the arms of the ultra-right. Recent polls suggest support for the far right is at 15 per cent.


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