Greek Australian’s voiced their concern regarding Golden Dawn’s growing presence in Australia after their intentions to open an Australian chapter highlighted in a report on Dateline this week. The report, entitled Rise of The Neo-Nazis, detailed Golden Dawn’s rise to power in Greece – now the third largest political party in the Hellenic Republic – and their desire for an Australian chapter, with many viewers turning to social media to voice their opinion on the matter. Most viewers were not only alarmed by their political tactics, but also repulsed by their anti-immigrant stance.
In the report, Ilias Panagiotaros, Golden Dawn’s deputy commander, said that the Australian chapter of Golden Dawn was growing in numbers on a daily basis with his eerie promise of “you’ll see us in Australia – summer or a bit later, but you’ll definitely find us there”.
When asked about their anti-immigrant political stance and the hypocrisy that surrounds it in a country built on multiculturalism and the acceptance of Greek migration, he turned against Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
In an interview with Neos Kosmos earlier this year, Ms Gillard stated that although Australia believes in the freedom of speech and parties such as Golden Dawn will not be “muzzled in Australia”, she added that there is “no place for that kind of politics in our nation”.
Mr Panagiotaros responded with this message to Australia’s PM: “We could tell her to look back a couple hundred years to see what they did to the Aboriginals, and not lecture us about racism and rights”. He also said that the intention of Golden Dawn is to have a presence in not only Australia, but the US and Germany – countries that have a large Greek diaspora.
Following the presence of Golden Dawn in Greece, the report stated that racist violence has increased in the county by 30 per cent, with 154 racist attacks last year, resulting in 71 severe injuries and two deaths. Due to this, Greece is currently debating an anti-racism bill – that is dividing the government – to thwart such violent attacks against migrants living in the Hellenic Republic.
Readers of Neos Kosmos’ facebook page responded as the program was going to air on Tuesday night with viewers calling Golden Dawn names such as ‘despicable filth’ and ‘hate fuelled scum’.
However, some of the comments were in favour of Golden Dawn, with one viewer stating: “The days of leaving your front door open, of sleeping on the balconies in summer – those days are over for Greece. People are afraid to walk in the streets. The police can’t do their job; they admit they can’t protect their citizens from all this crime so they turn to Golden Dawn.”
But it wasn’t just Greek Australians who were concerned by Golden Dawn’s growing presence in Australia. Viewers of SBS’s Dateline turned to the program’s Twitter page to voice their opinion on the political party that is growing in numbers daily. Even Greek Australian MP Jenny Mikakos turned to Twitter to say: “Australian Greeks, immigrants themselves, will show Golden Dawn the door”.
One concerned viewer called Golden Dawn “xenophobic meatheads”, whilst another said: “they are the storm troopers of the corrupt political establishment”.
One viewer said she was “gobsmacked by the parallels” of the situation in Greece to that rise of the Nazi party in Germany, and subsequently, the beginnings and impact of WWII.