The attacks by Christi Avgi (Golden Dawn), on migrants occur every day. Every single day in Athens, there are violent attacks on migrants, many which require emergency treatment and hospitalisation, some which require ongoing treatment. There are also ongoing attacks on local shops and businesses, particularly those which are immigrant owned.
In the neighbourhood that I live in, fascists sell “protection” to shopkeepers, both as a means of generating income as a way of keeping control over the area. Those who do not accept fascist “protection” are vulnerable to having their shops and livelihoods destroyed. At a time when the economy is in freefall and small shops are struggling to survive the damage to the shop fabric and stock can be a fatal blow to anyone who does not submit to the fascist demands.
In the area last night, a gang of Chrysi Avgi attacked migrants with knifes and stones, destroyed an internet cafe and stabbed one immigrant who is currently in hospital. According to local reports, although the police were on hand almost immediately they simply watched from the sidelines as the attack took place, until others came to defend those who were being attacked and fought back, at which point, the police told the fascists to leave and arrested twelve people. Although I have seen reports which suggest that some fascists were arrested, locally, however, all are thought to be those who came to defend others the fascist violence..
The police here are fascist infiltrated – approximately half the police force voted for Chrysi Avgi in the last election, and the motorcycle cops in particular, from the DELTA and DIAS units, usually the first responders to reports of violent incidents are thought to be almost univerally fascist supporters. People who go to the police over routine matters of thefts, vandalism and break-ins tell me that they are referred to Chrysi Avgi and told that this group will identify the culprit and deal with the problem.
There is no effective means of securing safety and security – society is descending into a “might is right” lawlessness. Those who seek protection from fascist violence have a stark choice of joining forces with them in their protection racket, or attempting to impliment community defence – but in doing so they leave themselves vulnerable to police and fascist targetting. The fascists and the police are two sides of the same coin – one dresses in masks and uses overt violent actions to intimidate the population; the other dresses in uniform to intimidate the population and uses covert violence to hide their actions. They work together – each complimenting the other.
What we have is a society where openly identified fascists run a protection racket of local business owners with the police turning a blind eye. Where people complain to the police about any attacks on their shops, they are referred to the fascists and where openly identified fascists carry out violent attacks on migrants, where migrants seek to defend themselves from these attack they are arrested by the police. Should they be injured in one of these violent attacks, they require authorisation to obtain the medical treatment that they require.
Severe beatings and stabbings taking place daily. Migrants report that hospitals deprioritise them in favour of Greek people, even where their injuries are severe and need urgent medical attention, they are left for long periods of time without treatment. The healthcare system of Greece requires that as a non-EU foreign national you need authorisation for medical treatment. Although emergency treatment is given, you are then told that you must retrospectively provide paperwork to pay the bill. Should you require ongoing care, or have an injury as a result that requires that you must return for treatment, this treatment will not be given without authorisation.
That authorisation is frequently not forthcoming as ill and injured people are sent on a wild goose chase around different agencies and organisations, collecting pieces of paper – each one allowing them to collect another. These documents are written in Greek, which few migrants read at all, and very few read well. Even collecting the full set of papers is no guarantee of obtaining the authorisation. For the ultimate authorisation comes from the police, and there is no desire or commitment on the part of the police to fulfill the responsibilities of Greece towards its immigrant population.
There is no safety and security here – those who are employed by the Greek government to provide this collude with those who undermine it. There is no way that this is happening without governmental approval. While Chrysi Avgi may be denounced by mainstream politicians, those self-same mainstream politicians have responsibility over those who enable them to operate, cover up their law-breaking and re-victimise those who they attack. On September 10th, Nikos Dendias, the minister for Public Order, in response to questioning about links between the police force and Chrysi Avgi responded “”I’m very happy with the way [the police] have done their job.”
The attacks are local, but the ideology which sustains it goes straight to the top of the Greek political system.