May 15, 2015 / 9:35 AM / in 3 years

Scuffles break out at trial of Greece's far-right Golden Dawn

ATHENS (Reuters) - The trial of Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party was interrupted on Friday when a group of people shouting “fascists!” and throwing bottles tried to barge into the courtroom, police and court officials said.

Far-right Golden Dawn party lawmakers Mihalis Arvanitis (R), Polivios Zisimopoulos (C) and Dimitris Koukoutsis, who face charges of forming a criminal gang, discuss in a courtroom where the trial of members and leaders of the party takes place, in Koridallos prison, near Athens, May 12, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

The landmark trial of elected politicians from Greece’s third largest political party began in April and is expected to drag on for months. They are accused of forming a criminal gang.

Anti-fascist groups have often protested outside the high-security prison where the trial is being held and residents have asked authorities to move the trial to another site.

A total of 69 people will be tried, including all of the 18 lawmakers Golden Dawn had in the previous parliament, which was dissolved for a Jan. 25 snap election.

Party leader Nikos Mihaloliakos and over a dozen top figures were arrested in 2013, weeks after the stabbing of anti-racism rapper Pavlos Fissas by a party supporter.

They have been charged based on evidence linking Golden Dawn with a string of attacks, including the stabbing of Fissas and the killing of an immigrant the following year.

The politicians deny the charges and the party’s top brass have so far refused to turn up in court.

Reporting by Costas Georgizas, writing by Karolina Tagaris Editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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