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September 30, 2013

Lawmaker gives himself up

(Continued)

ATHENS, Greece —

In a statement, congress President Moshe Kantor, said: “We congratulate Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on the crackdown ... and hope that the Greek leadership will make this a central part of the European Union presidency, which they will assume in January 2014.”

A formerly marginal organization, Golden Dawn won only 0.29 percent of the vote in a 2009 national election in Greece, but saw its popularity explode by capitalizing on public resentment over an influx of illegal immigrants.

Downplaying its extremist roots and presenting itself as a “patriotic” force, the party won public support by patrolling streets, doing the shopping for elderly residents, and collecting back rents for apartment owners with migrant tenants.

During the heyday of Greece’s anti-austerity protests in 2011, Golden Dawn members carried Greek flags and loudly blamed migrants and foreign “predators.”

Last year’s election put 18 Golden Dawn lawmakers in the 300-member parliament, and party members have frequently been suspected of physically attacking immigrants.

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