Eleni Zaroulia
Golden Dawn MP Eleni Zaroulia is a member of the Greek parliament delegation to Strasbourg’s Council of Europe’s Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination (Twitter)

A Golden Dawn MP sparked a wave of criticism after she referred to immigrants as "sub-humans" carrying "all sorts of diseases," during a parliamentary session in Athens. Meanwhile Greece top security officer denied allegations of collusion between police and the neo-Nazi party.

Eleni Zaroulia, the wife of the Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos, ranted against immigrants, as the parliament was discussing a law to grant vote to Greeks living abroad.

Zaroulia lashed out complaining that immigrants in Greece have the right to vote in local elections, while Greeks abroad still have to return to their homeland to cast a ballot, as they are not allowed to do so via mail or other means.

"It is unacceptable that they [Greeks abroad] are assimilated to this kind of sub-humans who have invaded our fatherland with the all sorts of diseases that they lug around," she said triggering the loud support of the other 17 golden dawn MPs that were elected in June, news agency Ana reported.

Zaroulia is a member of the Greek parliament delegation to Strasbourg's Council of Europe's Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination.

Growing Racist Violence

Apart from xenophobic rhetoric, Golden Dawn extremists have been recently involved in a series number of race-related attacks on immigrants and human rights activists.

In September, a flag-waving Golden Dawn supporters raided a street market in northeast Athens, asking migrants to show their passports and overturning their stalls to leave space for Greek vendors.

Earlier this month, members of the neo-Nazi party, which has seen its popularity surge 12 per cent, stormed the opening night of the play Corpus Christi at a theatre in central Athens, as the piece by US author Terrence McNally, depicts Jesus as gay.

According to human activists and left political groups, many of Golden Dawn's violent actions happen with the tacit approval of police.

Anti-fascist demonstrators rallying in support of Greek immigrants in central Athens earlier this month, claimed to have been tortured and abused, after being arrested by police.

Other Athenians had said that police was also referring the victims of crimes allegedly committed by immigrants to seek retribution from the violent neo-Nazis. As part of the government's spending review police numbers and funds have been reduced.

Minister threats to sue The Guardian

First reported by The Guardian, the claims have been denied by Greek authorities.

Greece's Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias told the parliament that he intends to sue the British newspaper, Ekathimerini reported.

Interviewed by the Financial Times, Dendias admitted that some police officers may be sympathetic to Golden Dawn, but rebutted accusation of collusion with the neo-Nazis.

"We are looking at uncharted grounds. We are not familiar with it. The police are not familiar with it. But they are making huge efforts to contain it," Dendias said, arguing that security forces are better at containing leftist demonstrations, such as that against the visit to Athens of German chancellor Angela Merkel, since they have been doing it for decades while Neo-Nazis are new phenomenon to Greece.

In August Dendias launched a police operation, ironically named after the Greek God of hospitality Zeus Xenios, to crack down on illegal immigration, saying the country's economic plight meant it could not afford an "invasion of immigrants". 6,000 immigrants were detained.

"If the irregular migrants issue is being dealt with, I think there would not be much breathing space for the neo-Nazi phenomenon," Dendias told the FT.

Greece’s Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias speaks to members of the security forces (Twitter)