Fascist Movement Dawning in Greece amid Crisis

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ATHENS, Greece - As the economies in the Eurozone continue to crumble, some experts have begun to worry about the rise of fascism, especially in Greece.

Video shot on Sept. 7 in the Greek town of Rafina shows members of the fascist group Golden Dawn marching into a market used by immigrants to sell their wares.

Golden Dawn checked for business permits then destroyed the stands of those who can't produce a document.

One of the leaders of the raid, who is also a sitting parliament member, George Germenis, said they did it to honor the Virgin Mary.

On a Greek talk show earlier this year, a Golden Dawn spokesman threw water in the face one female guest and then started hitting another, calling her an "old commie."

The sight of a man hitting a woman on TV cost Golden Dawn in the polls initially, but the party has already rebounded.

Golden Dawn Rising

As Greek society continues to unravel, Golden Dawn is rising up. Greece faces of an acute shortage of jobs, food, medicine and leadership. And Greeks are looking for a savior.

The economic crisis has caused more Greeks to lose faith in the political class. They're looking elsewhere for answers.

"Nothing changes. Only with a revolution can things change," a man named Stavros, a pensioner, said.

"If this political system doesn't change for new people to come in, Greece will not move forward. We are living moments from the Apocalypse," another pensioner, Anna, said.

Employment among young adults has hit an incredible 55 percent. Experts fear a replay of the 1930s, when a depression in Germany helped usher Hitler to power.

Golden Dawn's official support is now between 10 and 12 percent, but is probably higher. In a nation where politicians don't seem to have an answer to a crisis that has brought Greece to its knees, the appeal of Golden Dawn is that it has an answer, even if it's the wrong answer.

'A Flaming River'

At a recent meeting of Golden Dawn members, the speaker was filmed saying, "…We will become a flaming river, a flaming river which will sweep with its flames anything that has deprived us of dignity, freedom, and the Greece of our dreams."

Golden Dawn has begun to take on some government functions, even giving out food, but to ethnic Greeks only. Greek police, who reportedly support the party "in larger numbers, have told the public to go to Golden Dawn for help."

But for immigrants and refugees, Golden Dawn is a nightmare. CBN News interviewed immigrants in Athens who are forced to hide in their apartment to keep from being attacked in the street.

They escaped from Afghanistan, but now want to go home, saying coming to Greece is the biggest mistake they ever made.

"This is very bad. You can imagine one political party with weapons, with knives, they are going out in the roads, and this is politics? This is not politics," Javed Aslam, head of the Pakistani community in Greece, said. "That's why we are worried so much."

At Glyfada Christian Center near Athens, Arno Lankhaar and his wife minister to immigrants in Athens.

"People you talk with, they have a fear which they didn't have before," he said. "They're hesitant to come out of their house because someone might come and beat them up."

A Country Lost?

The fear is that the economic situation will get so bad that Greeks will choose a new radical way, the way of Golden Dawn.

"There's a growing frustration with the feeling that the country is being lost," Pastor Brian Van Deventer, with Glyfada Christian Center, said.

"Whether it's being lost to foreigners or being lost to history, Greeks are feeling less in control of their own lives, and I think anywhere that happens you have a rise in these kinds of things," he said.

Founding pastor of Glyfada Christian Center, Gail Stathis, ministers to a congregation, some of whom live in financial crisis and some of whom could be at risk to far right violence.

"We kept talking in the church that there's no crisis with God," she told CBN News. "We really must trust him because he has promised us that we're not going to go to bed begging bread, that we will have what we need for the day."

A Golden Nightmare

Uncertain and even dangerous times could be ahead for Christians and others in Greece if Golden Dawn ever rises to power.

A Golden Dawn leader summed it up to the group's followers, saying, "Their nightmare is here. We are. You are. It's the Golden Dawn."

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CBN News
Dale Hurd

Dale Hurd

CBN News Sr. Reporter

A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at Facebook.com/DaleHurdNews.