'Blood and honour': the family behind Greece's neo-Nazi party

'Blood and honour': the family behind Greece's neo-Nazi party
This file picture taken on May 6, 2012 shows the political leader of the far-right party Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn), Nikolaos Michaloliakos speaking during a press conference at an Athens hotel, after the first results of the Greek general elections. Greece on September 28, 2013 arrested the leader of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party and hunted for dozens of members as part of a crackdown launched after the murder of a leftist musician, a police source said. Nikos Michaloliakos, 56, was arrested along with Golden Dawn lawmaker and spokesman Ilias Kassidiairis and two other party members on charges of belonging to a "criminal organisation," the source said on condition of anonymity.

ATHENS - A dictator's disciple and a woman who describes migrants as 'sub-human' are the power couple behind Greece's Golden Dawn, the neo-fascist party facing a police crackdown after the murder of an anti-fascist musician last week.

Party leader Nikos Michaloliakos, 56, arrested on Saturday, is a disgraced former officer cadet and devotee of Greek dictator George Papadopoulos, with whom he spent time in prison in the late 1970s for an assault and bombing attack.

His wife Eleni Zaroulia, who joined her husband in parliament in June 2012, turned heads when she appeared in the chamber wearing a ring in the shape of the Iron Cross, the military decoration of Nazi Germany's armed forces.

The family hails from Greece's southern Peloponnese peninsula, a particularly right-wing area of the country, and even their daughter Urania, 25, has urged members to "give up everything" for the party's "holy" ideology.

"Ask yourself, are you ready to die for what you believe... ask yourself how far you are prepared to go," she wrote in a web posting this month.

Golden Dawn offices around the country have been subjected to police raids after anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas was stabbed to death by an alleged self-confessed neo-Nazi on September 18.

Initially handpicked by ex-dictator Papadopoulos to lead the youth of far-right group EPEN after the junta fell, Nikos Michaloliakos founded Golden Dawn in the mid-1980s, making him one of the longest-serving party leaders in Greece.

The party follows a strict military-style regimen. Its members conduct parades dressed in black shirts and camouflage trousers, and are required to stand to attention before higher-ranking members.

Michaloliakos' first elected post was as an Athens municipal councillor in 2010, where he attended sessions with bodyguards and was filmed taunting a left-wing opponent with fascist salutes.

At the time of its inception and for years thereafter, Golden Dawn glorified Adolf Hitler and the warrior ethos of Nazi Germany in its party publications.

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