Controversial Greek group looks to open office in Astoria
by Andrew Pavia
Oct 10, 2012 | 1681 views | 0 0 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Elected officials last week protested the possible opening of an Astoria-based headquarters for Golden Dawn, an extremist neo-Nazi group based in Greece.

In August, the Golden Dawn party won 18 of the 300 seats in the Greek Parliament. The group, which uses the term “white power” in much of its literature, was founded in the 1990s. It was able to rise to greater prominence due in part to Greece's recent financial instability.

As the party gains momentum, members have become more brazen. Recently, members of the party descended on a night market in the Greek town of Rafina demanding that dark-skinned merchants show proper identification.

Those that didn't have proper identification were immediately deemed as illegal immigrants and party members destroyed their stalls using clubs

Golden Dawn is looking to open an office in Astoria, but has not specified where it will be located.

“You are not welcome in this community, this city or this country,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio at a rally in Astoria last Friday. “Your hatred and bigotry will fall on deaf ears in Queens, the most diverse county in American, where people of every race, creed and nationality live side by side in harmony.”

One of the most controversial figures in the party is leader Nikos Michaloliakos, who has publicly denied German Nazi use of gas chambers to kill Jews. The group Human Rights Watch has also criticized the party of inciting violence against immigrants in Greece.

“There is no place more inappropriate for a group like this than western Queens, which celebrates its diversity and openness to all peoples,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris.

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