golden dawn
Supporters of Greece's extreme right Golden Dawn party observed by a policeman (Reuters) Reuters

Greek police have been accused of directing the victims of crimes allegedly committed by immigrants to seek retribution from the violent neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.

Golden Dawn is increasingly taking the law into its own hands with the complicity of security forces, the Guardian reported.

Numerous Athenians told the British newspaper that police are openly advising people to seek Golden Dawn protection instead of dealing with their complaints.

"They immediately said if it's an issue with immigrants go to Golden Dawn," explained a US-trained civil servant who called police following an incident involving Albanian immigrants.

Support for the Neo-Nazi party is soaring in the near-bankrupt state, as are racially motivated attacks on immigrants.

Immigrant communities accuse police of turning a blind eye to this sort of crime.

"In the past six months, knife-wielding fascists have attacked some 500 persons with impunity," Javied Aslam, the head of the Migrant Workers' Association in Greece and leader of the Greek Pakistani community told the BBC.

"There is a very high degree of danger. People are going to their jobs and they don't know if they can get back home at night."

"A lot of the party's backing comes from the police, young recruits who are apolitical and know nothing about the Nazis or Hitler. For them, Golden Dawn supporters are their only allies on the frontline when there are clashes between riot police and leftists," political analyst Paschos Mandravelis told the Guardian.

Golden Dawn
Supporters of Greece's Golden Dawn extreme right party secure an area where fellow party supporters are distributing food to residents suffering from the economic crisis in Syntagma square in Athens (Reuters) Reuters

Golden Dawn won 18 seats in the Greek parliament, gaining almost the seven per cent of preferences in the two elections this year.

According to a recent poll, 12 per cent of Greeks would now vote for the xenophobic party led by Nikos Michaloliakos.

The large immigrant population in Greece - 810,000 registered immigrants out of a total country population of 11m - is increasingly seen as one of the causes of the economic crisis, and Golden Dawn is channelling the growing unrest through action.

Earlier in September, a dozen 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.

Golden Dawn has also launched Greeks-only food hand-outs and blood donation events in Athens.

"Anybody can ask for blood from Golden Dawn, but just for Greek people, not immigrants. We want to help Greek people," Golden Dawn's parliamentary spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, infamous for slapping a female MP on a TV talk show, said as photographers took pictures of him donating blood.

Golden Dawn
A man holds a sack of potatoes as others line up during a food distribution organised by Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party in Agios Panteleimonas Square in Athens (Reuters) Reuters