Golden Dawn party to change name in effort to thwart crackdown

ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — The Greek ultranationalist party Golden Dawn will change its name to National Dawn amid concerns it could be banned from upcoming elections.

“Patriots will have a party to vote for in the next election if they go ahead with the coup to ban Golden Dawn,” party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris told a rally in central Athens over the weekend.

The name change appears aimed at circumventing a possible ban on the party ahead of municipal and European elections scheduled for May.

In recent months, Greek authorities have arrested several of the party’s top leaders, accusing them of running a criminal organization following the killing of anti-fascist rapper Killah P by a suspected Golden Dawn member.

The government has stopped short of actually banning the party, which is known for its Nazi swastika-like flag and Holocaust-denying leadership.

Kasidiaris, who plans on running for mayor of Athens, said the party would not be deterred by the crackdown.

“We are stronger, we are more powerful and soon we will be in power,” he said.

Golden Dawn, which has 18 seats in the 300-member parliament, has been accused of being behind dozens of attacks on immigrants in Greece.

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