PICTURES

Hundreds of neo-Nazis march through Athens

ATHENS (AFP) - Hundreds of Greek neo-Nazis marched with torches through the streets of Athens late on Wednesday to commemorate the 560th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

The militants from the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn party shouted "Blood, honour, Golden Dawn" and "Greece belongs to the Greeks." After several fiery speeches against the Turks and communists in the square outside Athens cathedral, they marched on parliament, where the party has held 18 seats since June.

The annual march concluded without incident, unlike last year when a Pakistani man who found himself in their path was attacked by 15-20 neo-Nazis.

This year's march did cause concern among tourists in the Greek capital.

"When they arrived, all the tourists paid their bills and left," said Mr Fotis, a waiter at the Meatropoleos restaurant in central Athens.

Greece's ruling coalition is split over a bid to toughen an anti-racism law aimed at curbing Golden Dawn, amid fears it could unwittingly alienate the influential Orthodox church.

The proposed bill would impose prison sentences of up to three years and a fine of up to 20,000 euros for hate speech and the denial or praise of war crimes and genocide.

Rights groups believe Golden Dawn has instigated a recent wave of violence against migrants, which the party denies.

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