Golden Dawn Greece
Leader of extreme-right Golden Dawn party Nikolaos Mihaloliakos

Stunned reporters were ordered to stand or leave at a press conference Monday of Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party, which obtained 7 percent of the vote at parliamentary elections.
A video published on YouTube shows muscly aides urging journalists to stand as a sign of respect to party leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos.

Those who refused to do so were expelled from the room.

Considered a hard-right, neo-Nazi party, the Golden Dawn has seen its support jump from the 0.29 per cent of vote received at the last general election in 2009.

Threats to journalists are not new to the party's agenda. Last month, Greek journalist Xenia Kounalaki wrote an article about Golden Dawn in the German weekly Der Spiegel. She immediately received an attack on the party's website.

"It was a 2,500-word-long personal attack," she recalled as quoted by The Guardian. "[They] recounted my entire career, mocked my alleged foreign roots (I was born in Hamburg) and even, for no apparent reason, mentioned my 13-year-old daughter."

"The unnamed authors indirectly threatened me as well, 'To put it in the mother tongue of foreign Xenia: "Kommt Zeit, kommt Rat, kommt Attentat!"' In other words, watch your back."

EU commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso has questioned the neo-Nazi label for Golden Dawn. "We have to define what a neo-Nazi party is. This can only be done at national level," he said.

Michaloliakos rejected any affiliation with Nazism, even though the party's emblem, a squared spiral, and its colours recall closely the swastika.

He made a Hitler-style salute when elected in 2010 to Athens city council.

Michaloliakos lashed out at corrupt politicians who "betrayed" the country.

"They slandered us, slung mud at us and shut us out of all the news media - the TV channels of the corrupt elite - and we beat them," the 55-year-old leader said after the vote.

"The day of national revolution by the Greeks has begun against those who are selling us out and looting the sweat of the Greek people."

The party's main policy is to get rid of all illegal immigrants. "No one should fear me if they are a good Greek citizen. If they are traitors - I don't know," Michaloliakos said.

Golden Dawn appealed to nationalist sentiment rising in the country after the austerity measures demanded by the European Union and the IMF helped plunge Greece into economic turmoil.

The secretary general of the South East Europe Media Organisation, Oliver Vujovic, expressed concern about the threats to journalists issued by Golden Dawn.

"I am very worried by these developments. All political parties have to respect democratic principles and press freedom," he said. "However, in one month, the Golden Dawn party threatened one journalist and obliged reporters to stand to salute the party leader or leave the press conference.

"I hope that these incidents will be isolated cases and that the Golden Dawn leaders will respect democratic principles."