Greek neo-Nazi party to protest over criminal indictments

Greek neo-Nazi party to protest over criminal indictments
The leader of ultra-right wing Golden Dawn party Nikos Michaloliakos (centre) is escorted by masked police to an Athens court on October 2, 2013.

ATHENS - Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn will hold a demonstration on Saturday against the recent indictment of several key members in a government crackdown following the murder of an anti-fascist musician last month.

The early evening protest in Athens comes as authorities prepared to hit other senior Golden Dawn members with fresh charges as early as next week and after a move by parliament to cut the party's state funding.

Anti-fascist groups are also staging gatherings to counter the neo-Nazi protest.

Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos, deputy party leader Christos Pappas and party MP Yiannis Lagos are being held in a high-security Athens prison on charges of running or belonging to a criminal group.

In total six of the party's MPs including Michaloliakos have been charged in connection with the investigation.

Magistrates are now expected to press criminal charges against three other Golden Dawn lawmakers whose immunity from prosecution was lifted last week.

No trial date has been set. If convicted, each accused face at least 10 years in prison.

Golden Dawn says the government crackdown is "unfair, illegal, unconstitutional and purely political persecution".

"The real purpose of this dirty war of mud is the political extermination of Golden Dawn, the only political force resisting the (austerity) storm," the party said.

Golden Dawn is Greece's third-most-popular party, with 18 seats in parliament.

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