(Left poster above used for January 21st protest in Solun (Thessaloniki); right poster used for this Sunday’s protest in Athens; Golden Dawn Party Logo below)
Posters depicting Macedonians as rabid dogs and rapists are being propagated by state-sponsored ultranationalists in Greece, in advance of another hate march planned in Athens on February 4, 2018. These extremist groups include members of mainstream political parties, such as the far-right Golden Dawn Party, and reactionaries within the Greek Orthodox Church.
The Golden Dawn Party has dozens of members of parliament at European, national and regional levels, and Prime Minister Tsipras’s government employs Greek Orthodox clergymen as public servants, including those who are actively spreading this virulent hate speech.
The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) calls on indigenous Macedonians in Greece and other Macedonians travelling in the country to take precautions that ensure their personal safety. UMD also calls on the international community to loudly condemn these tactics from within the Greek state apparatus. UMD also calls on the police and public prosecutors punish these heinous acts to the fullest extent of the law.
“This is clearly a call to violence, and a type of sadistic imagery which has not been seen since Hitler and Mussolini were in charge of these lands over 70 years ago,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski, “But this is the Hellenic Republic of 2018, an EU and NATO member. Meanwhile, the Greek Prime Minister with his team of EU commissars do nothing, and they have the gall to lecture the Republic of Macedonia about good-neighborly relations.”
UMD Chair Stojan Nikolov noted: “For a bankrupt country whose entire economy is being propped up by German taxpayers, it is a wonder that they always have sufficient funds available for propagating xenophobic threats against the Macedonian nation, including against the large domestic community of ethnic Macedonians in Greece. Athens has no problem ratifying legal protections recommended by the EU, but they do not enforce those measures. The government does not even censure priests and other officials that they employ. And Brussels carefully turns a blind eye to all of it.”
On September 9, 2014, Law 4285/2014 was implemented into the Greek Legal Code, with reference to EC Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA. Among other things, the law criminalizes public incitement to violence or hatred against persons by national or ethnic origin. Penalties range from three months to three years in prison with fines of 5,000 to 20,000 euros, and the penalties increase if the incitement results in violence, or if the perpetrator is a public official or other government employee. It is time the Greek government implemented this law in practice during this Sunday’s protest.