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As Greek Nazis Go to Prison, Their Poison Runs Free

The conviction of the leaders of the Golden Dawn – the only openly Nazi party to have won seats in any parliament since the 1940s – is a victory against far-right extremism in Europe. But while the party's leaders were being sent to prison, their ideas, manners, and hatred of parliamentary democracy were in police uniform, terrorizing the streets.

ATHENS – October 7 was a good day for democrats. The Greek Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of the leaders of Golden Dawn, the only openly Nazi party to have won seats in any parliament since the 1940s, on charges of murder, grievous bodily harm, and directing a criminal organization. A crowd of 20,000 Athenians celebrated outside the court.

Our celebration lasted precisely 40 seconds, before the police dispersed us with teargas. Gasping for air, my wife and I tried to join hundreds of others struggling to escape via a narrow street leading to the safety of nearby Mount Lycabettus. A dozen riot police were there, firing gas canisters into the fleeing crowd. I pleaded with their commanding officer to stop. “There is no purpose in gassing people trying to go home,” I told him calmly. He swore at me. When I produced my parliamentary ID card, his response startled me: “Yet another reason to fuck you.”

The conviction of Greece’s Nazi leaders is a decisive victory against the revival of far-right extremism in Europe. But while they were being sent to prison, their ideas, manners, and hatred of parliamentary democracy were in police uniform, terrorizing the streets.

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