Supporters of the extreme right Golden Dawn party stand below a Greek flag as they attend a pre-election rally in Athens
Supporters of the extreme right Golden Dawn party gather round a Greek flag at a pre-election rally in Athens (Reuters)

A French-based anti-fascist organisation has called on leading figures in Europe and ordinary Greek citizens to march against the "surge" of neo-Nazi sentiment in the country.

The European Grassroots Antiracist Movement said that a silent walk from parliament to the Acropolis will take place on 15 December to highlight concerns that Nazism is gaining ground. The protest is supported by French Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld and Italian Nobel literature prizewinner Dario Fo, said the organisers.

The increase in anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying speeches in Greece "jeopardise the fundamental values of democracy in the very country where it was born", they said.

"Let us be clear: fighting racism, anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism in Greece does not mean fighting Greece but fighting this ideology of hatred spreading across the whole continent," the group said.

The UN special rapporteur on migrants' human rights, Francois Crepeau, recently expressed concerns about sweeps conducted by Greek police on illegal immigrants in Greece.

In August, New York-based Human Rights Watch called on Greece to stop its massive round-ups of migrants which were based, it said, on "little more than their physical appearance".

Illegal immigrant crackdown

The charity said that the crackdown on suspected illegal immigrants, which resulted in more than 6,000 people being held for questioning by police in just over a week, violated international standards.

But the government has adopted other controversial measures to tackle illegal migration to the country.

The public order ministry told Kathimerini website that a barbed-wire fence running along a 12.5km stretch of the border with Turkey was expected to be finished by mid-December.

According by border guards, the fence has already had an impact on immigration, curbing arrivals by 95 percent.

The Southeast European Times reported that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is pushing to withdraw a law that grants citizenship to second-generation migrants who were born in Greece, attend Greek schools and speak Greek.

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said the law would be "replaced with new legislation compatible with the decision of the Council of State".

The law, which was approved under a leftwing government, allows those born to foreign parents legally living in Greece for five years to be granted citizenship if they have studied at a Greek school for at least six years.

Coalition partners of the Pasok social democratic party said the circular was unlawful and undermined the partnership.

A visit by the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, Nils Muiznieks, has been postponed to January. Muiznieks was due to visit prisons and a refugees' reception centre to get first-hand information about the country's treatment of migrants and the wave of racist attacks by the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.