Greek PM Vows 'Relentless' Action against Political Violence
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras promised "relentless" action against political violence Monday, amid fears of score-settling after the murders of an anti-fascist musician and two members of neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn.
"We will not let democracy succumb to criminal violence under any circumstances," Samaras told Mega television channel in an interview. "We will be relentless against those responsible."
On Friday, two armed assailants riding a motorbike shot dead two members of Golden Dawn and seriously injured a third one in a shock drive-by attack outside the party's offices in an Athens suburb.
Experts fear the attack could spark further violence, as it followed the September assassination of an anti-fascist rapper by a Golden Dawn member.
So far no one has claimed responsibility for the double murder and Greece's anti-terrorist squad is searching for the assailants who remain unidentified.
Police on Monday released security camera footage of one of the alleged attackers, saying they were looking for a thin man up to five feet seven inches tall, wearing jeans, white shoes and carrying a backpack.
Samaras warned that Greeks had to stand united to address the economic crisis still gripping the nation, three years after it narrowly avoided bankruptcy with the aid of EU-IMF loans.
The premier said the double murder was "like lighting a match in a powder magazine, at a moment when we have so many other fires, economic (fires) before us".
"Severity from the state and a mood for unity are needed," Samaras said.
Mission chiefs from the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank -- the so-called troika of creditors -- will on Tuesday embark on a new round of talks with Greek officials.
The troika's report is necessary to unlock a vital one-billion-euro ($1.3 billion) disbursement of financial aid from the country's rescue loans.
The Golden Dawn killings have overshadowed an ongoing criminal investigation against the neo-Nazi party.
Its leader Nikos Michaloliakos and two other lawmakers are currently in prison awaiting trial.
Another three lawmakers have been indicted on criminal charges, and three more are likely to be charged.
Court documents have linked Golden Dawn to two murders including that of hip hop artist Pavlos Fyssas, three attempted murders and numerous assaults.
Golden Dawn is Greece's third-most-popular party, with 18 seats in parliament.
Formerly on the fringe of Greek politics, the group boosted its popularity by tapping into widespread anger over immigration and austerity reforms in debt-wracked Greece, which is slogging through its sixth year of recession and where youth unemployment stands at 60 percent.
The president of the European Parliament on Monday called the violence "a sign of alarm and destabilization".
"I condemn those who kill people no matter what the reason is. There is no political justification for murder," Martin Schulz said.