Profile: Golden Dawn MPs in court in Greece


The six MPs from the far-right Golden Dawn party arrested in Greece for criminal activity include former commandos and a figure who likens the group to a Hellenic version of Hezbollah.

Here BBC News looks at six men whose activities have often earned them notoriety.

Nikos Mihaloliakos

A former commando and mathematician with criminal convictions for right-wing paramilitary activity in the 1970s, the 55-year-old founded Golden Dawn's precursor in 1980 and leads the party today.

Inspired by extreme nationalism, he reportedly met leaders of the 1967-74 Greek junta while in prison.

He is married to fellow Golden Dawn MP Eleni Zaroulia, who caused uproar in the Greek parliament by describing immigrants as "subhumans", according to Greece's Kathimerini news website.

He denies the existence of gas chambers and crematoria at the site of the Auschwitz death camp, where an estimated one million Jews, together with some 100,000 people of other ethnicities and backgrounds, were killed.

"There were no crematoria," he said in one interview. "It's a lie. There were no gas chambers either."

Regarded as Mr Mihaloliakos's second-in-command, the 51-year-old acts as the party's spokesman in parliament.

When he was arrested, police found Nazi and fascist memorabilia inside his home, releasing photos tweeted by Greece's Eleftherotypia newspaper.

He is the son of an army lieutenant-general close to the former military junta.

According to the Associated Press news agency, he started a publishing company in the mid-1990s selling extreme-right literature.

media captionMP Ilias Kassidiaris punched a camera outside court

The party spokesman, 32, is seen as a rising star within Golden Dawn, with plans to stand for mayor of Athens next year.

A special forces veteran, he is known for his extremist views, once quoting the infamous anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in parliament, as detailed by Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Photos of him in swimming trunks published by Spanish newspaper El Mundo this summer show he has a swastika tattooed on his left arm.

Prone to explosive outbursts, he physically attacked two left-wing politicians during a debate on live TV in June 2012. The video shows him throwing water on one woman, then slapping another.

Leaving court on 2 October, he threw a punch at a TV camera.

media captionGolden Dawn MP Ilias Panagiotaros: "We are in civil war"

One of the party's leading street activists, the 40-year-old is also one of its most media-savvy figures.

A fluent English-speaker, he told BBC News in an interview: "Greek society is ready... [for] a new type of civil war.

"On one side will be nationalists like us, and Greeks who want our country to be as it used to be. On the other will be illegal immigrants and anarchists."

In another interview, quoted by Kathimerini, he likened Golden Dawn, which hands out free food to poor Greeks, to Lebanon's Hezbollah.

"Golden Dawn wants to become, and will become, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, which is in effect a second government that helps even the last of its poor citizens," he said.

Outside parliament, he runs a sports shop, which also sells military and police paraphernalia.

Aged 44, he is said to rarely seek the limelight but is involved in street activities, such as searches of open-air markets that are aimed at finding immigrants working illegally.

Of the first four MPs to be heard in court, he was the only one not to be released pending trial.

Aged 41, he represents a run-down area west of Athens where the left-wing rapper Pavlos Fyssas was stabbed to death.

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