[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 16 September 2005, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
Neo-Nazis gather for Greek fest
Far-right supporter in Germany
A leader from Germany's neo-Nazi NPDparty had been due to attend
Neo-Nazis from across Europe are gathering in Greece this weekend for a far-right summer festival - but no one is exactly sure where.

Organisers Golden Dawn say they will defy a government ban on the Euro-Fest 2005 event, and insist it will go ahead at a secret location.

Golden Dawn is relatively small compared to other far-right groups - but it is very militant.

Rights campaigners say Greece should do more to condemn such groups.

"The most disturbing thing is not the few hundred people following Golden Dawn, but because there is no clear condemnation of their activity," Panayote Dimitras, of the human rights group Greek Helsinki Monitor told the BBC.

"They mingle with other people who are not really neo-Nazis in activities like beating Albanians after the football one year ago leading to one death; like having anti-Turkish demonstrations."

Anti-Turkish

Mr Dimitras says Greece does have an anti-racist law which could provide some deterrent if used.

"If you buy the Golden Dawn newspaper you have anti-Semitic and anti-foreigner references that are enough to convict their members every week," he said.

He says the government has been embarrassed into taking a stance against the festival this year following protests from Jewish and other international groups.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Public Order and Hellenic Police refused to comment on the festival or what efforts were being taken to stop it going ahead.

The Golden Dawn website for the Euro-Fest 2005, decked with "Turkey out of Europe" links has the headline: "The True voice of every European citizen".

It offers "Three days of comradeship, with live shows, sport activities by the sea and the most important: Open Congress with speeches on defend [sic] of our European Identity".

Secret location

Mr Dimitras says one of the key speakers, Udo Voigt of the German NPD, is not expected to turn up because of elections in his own country.

He said Golden Dawn could postpone the event so that the Germans could attend "because without them the glamour is lost."

But a spokesman for Golden Dawn told the BBC News website that more than 500 supporters from all over Europe, including England, Germany and Belgium, had already arrived in Athens.

He said the government had no legal powers to stop the event. As well as a demonstration in Athens, he said, the festival would still go ahead at a location to be revealed later.

He said the main focus of the weekend was opposition to Turkey in Europe.


SEE ALSO:
The lost Jews of Greece
28 Jan 05 |  Europe
German neo-Nazi threat 'rising'
15 Sep 03 |  Europe
Country profile: Greece
06 Jul 05 |  Country profiles


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific