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|Politics of Greece|
Chrysi Avyi (Greek: Χρυσή Αυγή, Khrysē Aygē, "Golden Dawn") is a Greek Nationalist political organization led by Nikolaos Michaloliakos. Chrysi Avyi opposes immigration, Marxism, globalization and multiculturalism. Chrysi Avyi is also the name of a newspaper and a magazine published by that party.
Chrysi Avyi has only reached as high as 0.5% of the vote in a national election. It ceased political operations in 2005, and it was absorbed by the Patriotic Alliance, which ceased operations after Michaloliakos withdrew support. In March 2007, Chrysi Avyi held its sixth congress, where party officials announced the resumption of their political activism.
Chrysi Avyi described itself as a "Popular Nationalist Movement" and "uncompromising Nationalists." Michaloliakos described Chrysi Avyi as opposing the "so-called Enlightenment" and the Industrial Revolution, while supporting National Socialism. According to the party's charter, "only Aryans in blood and Greeks in descent can be candidate members of Chrysi Avyi". The charter also puts the leader in total control of the party, and formalizes the use of the Roman salute for party members. At first, the party embraced neo-Pagan beliefs, believing them to be intermingled with National Socialism in accordance to Nazi occultism, describing Marxism and liberalism as "the ideological carriers of Judeo-Christianity. Later, however, the party underwent ideological changes, accepting Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
Template:Neo-Fascism In December 1980, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, and a group of his supporters launched Chrysi Avyi magazine. Michaloliakos (a mathematician and former commando) had been active in far right politics for many years, and he had been arrested several times for politically-motivated offences. While he was in prison, Michaloliakos met the leaders of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974, and he laid the foundations of the Hrisi Avgi party. The characteristics of the magazine and the organisation were clearly National Socialist. Chrysi Avyi magazine stopped being published in April 1984, when Michaloliakos joined the National Political Union and took over the leadership of its youth section. In January 1985, he broke away from the National Political Union and founded the Popular National Movement - Chrysi Avyi, which was officially recognised as a political party in 1993.
Chrysi Avyi remained largely on the margins of far right politics until the Macedonia naming dispute in 1991 and 1992. The left-leaning newspaper Eleftherotypia reported that on October 10, 1992, about thirty Chrysi Avyi members attacked left-wing students at the Athens University of Economics and Business during a massive demonstration against the usage of the name Macedonia by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Around the same time, the first far right street gangs appeared under the leadership of Giannis Giannopoulos, a former military officer who was involved with the South African Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) during the 1980s. After the events of 1991 and 1992, Chrysi Avyi had gained a stable membership of more than 200 members, and Giannopoulos rose within the party hierarchy. Chrysi Avyi ran in the 1994 European Parliament election, gaining 7.264 votes nationwide; 0.11% of the votes cast.
A few Chrysi Avyi members participated in the Bosnian War in the Greek Volunteer Guard (GVG), which was part of the Drina Corps of the Army of Republika Srpska. A few GVG volunteers were present in Srebrenica during the Srebrenica massacre, and they raised a Greek flag at a ruined church after the fall of the town. Spiros Tzanopoulos, a GVG sergeant who took part in the attack against Srebrenica, said many of the Greek volunteers participated in the war because they were members of Hrisi Avgi. Chrysi Avyi members in the GVG were decorated by Radovan Karadžić, but — according to former Chrysi Avyi member Charis Kousoumvris — those who were decorated later left the party.
In April 1996, Giannopoulos represented the party at a pan-European convention of nationalist parties in Moscow, where he presented a bust of Alexander the Great to Liberal Democratic Party of Russia leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky for his birthday. Chrysi Avyi participated in the 1996 legislative election in September, receiving 4,487 votes nationwide; 0.07% of the votes cast. In October 1997, Giannopoulos published an article in Chrysi Avyi magazine calling for nationalist vigilantism against illegal immigrants and left wingers. In 1998, a prominent party member, Antonios Androutsopoulos, assaulted left wing student activist Dimitris Kousouris. The resulting media attention, along with internal party conflicts (due to poor results in the 1996 elections), led some of its most extreme members (such as Giannopoulos) to gradually fade from official party affairs.
Chrysi Avyi continued to hold rallies and marches, and it ran in the 1999 European Parliament election in an alliance with the Front Line party, gaining 48,532 votes nationwide; 0.75% of the votes cast. Eleftherotypia criticicized Chrysi Avyi in 2005 after party members distributed homophobic fliers during an Athens gay pride parade.
2005 and later
According to Chrysi Avyi's leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, the party paused its own autonomous political activities after December 1, 2005, due to clashes with anti-fascists. Chrysi Avyi members had been instructed to continue their activism within the Patriotic Alliance party, which was very closely linked to Chrysi Avyi.  The former leader of Patriotic Alliance, Dimitrios Zaphiropoulos, was once a member of Chrysi Avyi's political council, and Michaloliakos became a leading member of Patriotic Alliance. Anti-fascist groups had accused Patriotic Alliance of simply being the new name of Chrysi Avyi. Activities by Patriotic Alliance's members were often attributed to Hrisi Avgi (even by themselves), creating confusion. This is the main reason Chrysi Avyi's members announced the withdrawal of their support to Patriotic Alliance, which eventually led to the interruption of Chrysi Avyi's political activities. 
In March 2007, Chrysi Avyi held its sixth congress and announced the continuation of their political and ideological activism. As of 2008, Chrysi Avyi's newspaper and magazine continue to be published, and the organisation's website is being updated.
The party created the Epitropi Ethnikis Mnimis (Committee of National Memory), to organise demonstrations commemorating the anniversaries of certain Greek national events. Since 1996, Epitropi Ethnikis Mninis organizes an annual march usually on January 31 in Athens, in memory of three Greek officers who died during the Imia military crisis. According to the European National Front website, the 2006 march was attended by 2,500 people, although no neutral sources have confirmed that number. Epitropi Ethnikis Mninis has continued its activities, and the January 31 March took place in 2007.
Epitropi Ethnikis Mnimis has organized annual rallies on June 17 in Thessalonica, in memory of Alexander the Great. Police confronted the 2006 rally participants, forcing Chrysi Avyi and Patriotic Alliance members to leave the area, while anti-fascist and leftist groups took over the square where the nationalist event was supposed to take place, causing damage and vandalisms. Later that day, Chrysi Avyi members gathered in the building of state-owned television channel ERT3 and protesting they tried to stop the channel from broadcasting. Police surrounded the building and arrested 48 Hrisi Avgi members. According to a Hrisi Avgi press release, those members were carrying Greek national flags which in court were considered to be "arms" and so they were found guilty of carrying them. They were condemned up to six and seven months imprisonment with suspension and were also fined €500.
In September 2005, Chrysi Avyi attempted to organise a festival called "Eurofest 2005 - Nationalist Summer Camp" at the grounds of a Greek summer camp. The planned festival depended on the participation of the German National Democratic Party of Germany, the Italian Forza Nuova and the Romanian Noua Dreaptă, as well as Spanish and American neo-Nazi groups. The festival was banned by the government, largely because of the reaction of anti-fascist groups.
In May 2009, Chrysi Avgi took part in the European Elections receiving 23,564 votes corresponding to 0.46% of the total votes.
Chrysi Avyi's Youth Front has distributed fliers with racist messages in Athens schools and organised white power concerts. It publishes the white nationalist magazine Resistance Hellas-Antepithesi, which promotes neo-Nazism to young people through articles related to music and sports. The magazine is a sister publication of the United States-based National Alliance's Resistance magazine. The collaboration between Greek nationalists and American racialists began in 2001, after National Alliance founder William Luther Pierce visited Thessalonica, Greece. Pierce's succesor, Erich Gliebe, ratified the collaboration after Pierce's death.
Violence by and against Chrysi Avgi
Members of Chrysi Avyi have been accused of carrying out acts of violence and hate crimes against immigrants, political opponents and ethnic minorities. Hrisi Avgi's offices have been attacked many times by anarchists and anti-fascists. Clashes between members of Hrisi Avgi and anti-fascists have not been unusual.
In January 1998, Alexis Kalofolias, vocalist of the band The Last Drive, was attacked and suffered permanent damage to his right eye, losing 2% of his eyesight. KLIK magazine and Eleftherotypia reported that members of Hrisi Avgi were responsible for the attack.
In 2000, unknown suspects vandalized the Monastirioton synagogue, a memorial for Holocaust victims and Jewish cemeteries in Thessaloniki and Athens. According to anti-fascist groups, Hrisi Avgi's symbols were present at all four sites. The KIS, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, the Coalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology, the Greek Helsinki Monitor and others issued statements condemning these acts. The Cyprus chapter of Hrisi Avgi has been accused of attacks against Turkish Cypriots, and one member was arrested for attacking Turkish-Cypriots in 2005.
In November 2005, Chrysi Avyi's offices were attacked by a group of Anarchists with molotov cocktails and stones. Unknown perpetrators responded to the anti-fascists with gunshots, and two people (who testified that they were just passing by) were injured. According to Chrysi Avyi, three suspects were arrested and set free. During the subsequent police investigation, molotov cocktails left overs were discovered in Hrisi Avgi's offices. Hrisi Avgi has stated that this was the reason for the organisation's disbandment.
In June 2006, three members of Chrysi Avyi were attacked and severely injured by anarchists in Galatsi, Athens. One of them ended up in a coma for three weeks. The victim was a suspect for injuring a police officer a month earlier.
In 2000, Chrysi Avyi members formed the hooligan firm Galazia Stratia (Greek for "Blue Army"), which has described itself as a "fan club of the Greek national teams." It has been reported that following Chrysi Avyi's official disbandment in 2005, many former party members have put most of their energy into promoting Galazia Stratia. Galazia Stratia is closely linked to Chrysi Avyi, and the two groups shared the same street address. Hrisi Avgi made no attempt to deny the connections, openly praising the actions of Galazia Stratia in its newspaper, and accepting praise in return from the firm.
Galazia Stratia and Hrisi Avgi have been accused of various acts of sports-related violence. In September 2004, after a football match between Greece and Albania in Tirana (in which Greece lost 2-1), Albanian hooligans set fire on a Greek flag, and violence erupted against Albanian immigrants in various parts of Greece. Anti-fascist groups held Hrisi Avgi and Galazia Stratia directly responsible for the attacks. According to Eleftherotypia, Galazia Stratia members severely beat a young Palestinian and an elderly Bangladeshi during celebrations following the success of the Greek national basketball team at the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
The Periandros case
Antonios Androutsopoulos (better known as Periandros), a prominent member of Hrisi Avgi, was on the run from 1998 to September 14, 2005 after being accused of the June 16, 1998 attempted murder of three left-wing students — including Dimitris Kousouris, who was heavily injured. Androutsopoulos had been sentenced in absentia to four years of prison for illegal weapon possession while the attempted murder charges against him were still standing.
The authorities' failure to apprehend Androutsopoulos for seven years raised criticisms by the Greek media. A Ta Nea article claimed that Periandros remained in Greece and evaded arrest due to connections with the police. In a 2004 interview, Michalis Chrysochoidis, the former minister of public order of PASOK, claimed that such accusations were unfounded, and he blamed the inefficiency of the Greek police. Some allege that Androutsopoulos had evaded arrest because he had been residing in Venezuela until he turned himself in 2005. His trial began on September 20, 2006, and he was convicted to 21 years in prison on September 25, 2006. Hrisi Avgi members were present in his trial, shouting nationalist slogans.
On February 2, 2008, Chrysi Avyi planned to hold the annual march for the twelfth anniversary of the Imia military crisis. Leftist and anti-fascist groups organised a protest in order to cancel the march, as a response to racist attacks, supposedly caused by Chrysi Avyi members. Chrysi Avyi members occupied the square in which the march was to take place, and when anti-fascists showed up, clashes occurred. During the riots that followed, Chrysi Avyi members were seen attacking the anti-fascists with riot police doing nothing to stop them and actually letting them pass through their lines. This led to two people being wounded by knife and another two wounded by rocks. Anti-fascists claimed that Chrysi Avyi members even carried police equipment with them and that Chrysi Avyi's equipment was carried inside a police van. The march was canceled and Chrysi Avyi issued a statement, responding to accusations of cooperation with the Greek Police, claiming that it was actually the anti-fascists who were collaborating with the police, since it was the anarchists and anti-Fascists that originally attacked the square where the Chrysi Avyi members were present, without anyone trying to stop them and in the night riots that followed, no arrest was made despite the damage caused by anarchists and anti-fascists. Also it is claimed that police turned on the anarchists in the end, after anarchists threw rocks at the police, hence why Chrysi Avgi followed the police from behind towards the anarchists.
Allegations of connections to the Greek Police
In a 1998 interview with the newspaper Eleftherotypia, Georgios Romaios (the minister of public order at the time) alleged the existence of "fascist elements in the Greek police", and vowed to suppress them. In a TV interview that same year, Romaios again claimed that there was a pro-fascist group within the police force although he said it was not organized, and was only involved in isolated incidents. The same year, Eleftherotypia published a lengthy article called "The lower limbs of the police", which outlined connections between the police and neo-fascism. Dimitris Reppas, the PASOK government spokesman, strongly denied such connections. However, the article quoted a speech by PASOK Member of Parliament Paraskevas Paraskevopoulos about a riot caused by right wing extremists, in which he said:
In Thessaloniki it is widely discussed that far-right organisations are active in the security forces. Members of such organisations were the planners and chief executioners of the riot and nobody was arrested. A Special Forces officer, speaking at a briefing of Special Forces policemen that where to be on duty that day, told the policemen not to arrest anyone because the rioters were not enemies and threatened that should this be overlooked there would be penalties. 
Before the surrender of Androutsopoulos, an article by the newspaper Ta Nea claimed that the Chrysi Avgi had close relationships with some parts of the Greek police force. In relation to the Periandros case, the article quoted an unidentified police officer who said that "half the force wanted Periandros arrested and the other half didn't". The article claimed that there was a confidential internal police investigation which concluded that:
- Chrysi Avyi had very good relations and contacts with officers of the force, on and off duty, as well as with common policemen.
- The police provided the group with batons and radio communications equipment during mass demonstrations, mainly during celebrations of the Athens Polytechnic uprising and during rallies by left-wing and anarchist groups, in order to provoke riots.
- The connections of the group with the force, as well as connections with Periandros, largely delayed his arrest.
- The brother of "Periandros", also a member of Hrisi Avgi, was a security escort of an unnamed New Democracy MP.
- Most Chrysi Avyi members were illegally carrying weapons.
The newspaper published a photograph of a typewritten paragraph with no identifiable insignia as evidence of the secret investigation. In the article, the minister of public order, Michalis Chrysochoidis, responded that he did not recollect such a probe. Chrysochoidis also denied accusations that far right connections within the police force delayed the arrest of Periandros. He said that leftist groups, including the terrorist group 17 November, responsible for several murders, had similarly evaded the police for decades. In both cases, he attributed the failures to "stupidity and incompetence" on behalf of the force.
Chrysi Avyi has claimed that rumours about the organisation having connections to the Greek police and the government are untrue, and has said that the police had intervened in Hrisi Avgi's rallies and had arrested some its members many times while the New Democracy party was in power (for example, during a rally in Thessaloniki in June 2006, and at a rally for the anniversary of the Greek genocide, in Athens, also in 2006). On January 2, 2005, anti-fascist and leftist groups invaded Hrisi Avgi's headquarters in Thesaloniki, under heavy police surveillance. Although riot police units were near the intruders, they did not try stop their actions.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 2006 interview of Michaloliakos published in Eleytheros Kosmos newspaper.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2/07/1998 article published in Eleftherotypia newspaper. (in Greek)
- ↑ Our Ideology: God Religion (Η Ιδεολογία Μας: Θεός-θρησκεία), Chrysi Avyi's newspaper, issue 57, October 1990
- ↑ 18/6/2000 article in Eleftherotypia (in Greek)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Το κλούβιο «αβγό του φιδιού» (The rotten "egg of the snake") 11/9/2005 article published in To Vima.
- ↑ Article about Michaloliakos published on Chrysi Avgi's website.
- ↑ 27/9/1998 article published in Eleftherotypia. (in Greek)
- ↑ Article published in "NIGMA" magazine about Chrysi Avyi. (in Greek)
- ↑ Michas, Takis;"Unholy Alliance", Texas A&M University Press: Eastern European Studies (College Station, Tex.) pp. 22 
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 16/07/2005 article in Eleftherotypia. (in Greek)
- ↑ Results of the 1996 legislative election.
- ↑ 1998 article in Eleftherotypia.
- ↑ "Ta alla Kommata", Macedonian Press Agency information on the 1999 elections.
- ↑ 27/06/2005 article in Eleftherotypia
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 01/12/05 article in www.in.gr (in Greek)
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Golden Dawn stops their activities, European National Front website
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Article in the website of Patriotic Alliance, stating that "those who contributed mostly in our political campaign were the youth of Chrysi Avyi".
- ↑ Article in Eleftherotypia.
- ↑ Chrysi Avyi announces the withdrawal of their support to Patriotic Alliance.
- ↑ News of the disbandment of Patriotic Alliance, in Independent Media Center.
- ↑ 12.05.07 Michaloliaco’s speech during the congress. (in Greek)
- ↑ 11/5/2002 article in newspaper Ta Nea, about Chrysi Avyi's activities. (in Greek)
- ↑ ENF gathers in Athens from the European National Front website.
- ↑ Report of the 2007 march
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 25.2 48 Greek nationalists arrested from the European National Front website
- ↑ 26.0 26.1 26.2 18/6/06 article in newspaper Thessalia (in Greek)
- ↑ Hrisi Avgi's press release (in Greek)
- ↑ 22/12/06 article in in.gr (in Greek)
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 Hrisi Avgi press release (in Greek)
- ↑  Hrisi Avgi’s anti globalisation attendance against G8 convention in Germany (in Greek)
- ↑ http://ekloges-prev.singularlogic.eu/e2009/pages/index.html
- ↑ The Growth of White Power Music
- ↑ 33.0 33.1 33.2 Eleytherotypia's article about attacks by Hrisi Avgi. (in Greek)
- ↑ 34.0 34.1 34.2 20/11/05 article in in.gr (in Greek)
- ↑ 17/09/05 article in in.gr (in Greek)
- ↑ 36.0 36.1 Article in magazine KLIK(in Greek)
- ↑ 37.0 37.1 Central European Review - "Anti-Jewish Attacks"
- ↑ Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece press release (in Greek). Also contains photographs of the dececrations.
- ↑ Greek Helsinki Monitor press release (in Greek)
- ↑ trncinfo.com - "Fanatic Hrisi Avgi member released."
- ↑ Assassination attempt against 3 young nationalists in Athens, European National Front website
- ↑ 42.0 42.1 04/08/06 Hrisi Avgi press release, contains an article from a Greek mainstream newspaper, Vradini. (in Greek)
- ↑ 43.0 43.1 10/9/2006 article in Eleftherotypia (in Greek)
- ↑ 44.0 44.1 Nazis dressed up as fans, Eleftherotypia 1/12/2001
- ↑ Galazia Stratia thanking Chrysi Avyi for the support
- ↑ 46.0 46.1 The Yale Hippolytic - "More Than Just a Game"
- ↑ 47.0 47.1 47.2 47.3 17/04/2004 article in Ta Nea (in Greek)
- ↑ 14/09/2005 article in newspaper Kathimerini
- ↑ 14/09/2005 article in Eleftherotypia (in Greek)
- ↑ 27/04/2004 article in Kathimerini (in Greek)
- ↑ 14/09/2005 article in Kathimerini (in Greek)
- ↑ 52.0 52.1 29/09/06 article in Eleftherotypia (in Greek)
- ↑ 25/09/06 article in in.gr (in Greek)
- ↑ Athens Indymedia 2008/02/03
- ↑ Eleftherotypia article 2008/02/04 (In Greek)
- ↑ Chrysi Avyi press release 2008/02/03
- ↑ Athens News Agency: Press Review in Greek, 98-06-29
- ↑ 58.0 58.1 Eleftherotypia's article part 3 (in Greek)
- ↑ Eleftherotypia article part 1 (in Greek)
- ↑ Image from the article of Ta Nea
- ↑ Indymedia Athens
- ↑ Bulgarian Indymedia
- Template:Gr icon Official website of Hrisi Avgi
- Template:Gr icon Official website of Hrisi Avgi's Youth Front and Resistance Hellas-Antepithesi magazine