Greek protesters rally before funeral of rapper killed by neo-Nazis
The attack of an anti-racism rapper by an alleged 'neo-Nazi' sparked outrage in Greece and abroad and increasing calls for a crackdown on the extremist party Golden Dawn.
ATHENS, Greece — Hundreds of mourners gathered in a cemetery west of Athens Thursday for the funeral of a 34-year-old musician stabbed to death in a killing blamed on a member of the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party.
Pavlos Fyssas, a hip-hop singer with the stage name Killah P described as an anti-fascist activist, died early Wednesday from two stab wounds to the chest after leaving a cafe in the western area of Keratsini.
Police arrested a suspect at the scene, who they say admitted to the killing and identified himself as a member of Golden Dawn.
The attack sparked outrage in Greece and abroad, drawing widespread condemnation from across the political spectrum and increasing calls for a crackdown on the extremist party. Golden Dawn supporters are notorious for their thuggish behavior and for carrying out violent attacks against immigrants, often causing severe injuries.
"This government is determined not to allow the heirs of the Nazis to poison our social life, to commit crimes, to terrorize and to undermine the foundations of the country that gave birth to democracy," said Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in a brief televised address to the nation Thursday.
Golden Dawn itself insists it had nothing to do with the killing and has condemned the attack.
Anti-fascist protests turned violent in several Greek cities Wednesday night, including the country's second-largest city of Thessaloniki and in Keratsini near the site of the stabbing, with rock-throwing demonstrators clashing with riot police firing tear gas and stun grenades.
In Keratsini, 130 people were detained during the clashes, with 34 of them later arrested. Scuffles broke out in the early hours of Thursday morning outside Athens police headquarters, where those detained had been taken.
The suspect in Fyssas' death appeared before a prosecutor Wednesday night and was given a three-day delay to prepare his defense. He is due back in court on Saturday. His wife and two other people were also arrested on suspicion of attempting to conceal evidence linking him to Golden Dawn.
The 45-year-old has not been officially named, in accordance with Greek law banning the identification of suspects except in particular circumstances. However, blogs have widely circulated his name and photos of him at what is described as a Golden Dawn summer camp.
Golden Dawn, whose senior members have expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler although they deny being neo-Nazi, won nearly 7 percent of the vote in 2012 general elections, riding on a wave of anger against harsh austerity measures imposed as a result of Greece's deep financial crisis.