Per the report, the leaders of the group, which has previously garnered plenty of criticism for its fascist ideologies, first went to trial over five years ago at an Athens court. Golden Dawn members have been accused of murder, attempted murder, assault, and possession of weapons. The court concluded that individuals associated with the party who committed such crimes did not do so on their own volition, and that party leadership directly planned and ordered tactics that incited violence.
Golden Dawn has been accused of systematically attacking migrants and those on the left with violence, in particular. Eighteen former members of the party, including its holocaust denying founder Nikos Michaloliakos, were found guilty on Wednesday, with individual sentences to be announced over the next few days. Most of the violent charges stem from attacks linked to the party between 2012 and 2013, with targets including anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas and other left-wing activists.
Due to the high-profile nature of the trial, police surrounded the court as people rallied and protested outside awaiting for the verdict. Police indicated that the crowd of 20,000 people remained calm and actually dispersed by the time the verdict came in, however a smaller group arrived later on and attacked authorities with thrown items including Molotov cocktails.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called the verdict a “truly historic day for Greece, democracy and the rule of law.” He added, “Αfter the Greek people voted the neo-Nazi party of Golden Dawn out of Parliament in the last election, today the Greek justice system convicted its leadership of operating as a criminal organization.”