Greece's Golden Dawn gains support after members killed-poll

ATHENS Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:01pm EST

A woman holds a white rose as she stands near the local offices of far-right Golden Dawn party, following last night's shooting, in a northern suburb of Athens November 2, 2013. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

A woman holds a white rose as she stands near the local offices of far-right Golden Dawn party, following last night's shooting, in a northern suburb of Athens November 2, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/John Kolesidis

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ATHENS (Reuters) - Support for Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party has grown since two members were gunned down by unknown assailants this month, an opinion poll released on Saturday showed.

The party, Greece's third most popular, had shed almost a third of support following the fatal stabbing in September of an anti-fascism rapper blamed on a Golden Dawn sympathizer.

In a suspected retaliatory attack, two Golden Dawn members were killed in a drive-by shooting outside the party's offices in Athens on November 1, raising fears of an escalation of political violence.

The poll by ALCO, for Sunday's Proto Thema newspaper, conducted on November 12-15, put support for Golden Dawn at 8.8 percent, up from 6.6 percent in a previous poll carried out a month earlier, still below the 10.8 percent it enjoyed in June.

A government crackdown on Golden Dawn after evidence linking it to the killing of rapper Pavlos Fissas led to the party's leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos and five senior lawmakers to be charged with belonging to a criminal group. Mihaloliakos and two fellow lawmakers were ordered detained until their trial.

"The organization of the incarcerated Nikos Mihaloliakos appears to be recovering, bolstered by the murders of the two young men," the newspaper wrote.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the shooting of the Golden Dawn members, which came at a time of growing public anger against a party widely regarded as neo-Nazi and accused of attacks against migrants and leftists.

Golden Dawn denies accusations of violence and rejects the neo-Nazi label. It denies any involvement in the killing.

The next local elections are due in May 2014 and a national vote is expected in 2016.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Alison Williams)

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