ATHENS, Greece — The suspected neo-Nazi killer of an anti-fascist musician in Greece was charged Saturday with manslaughter over the killing, which has been fueling protests and raising social tensions in the debt-wracked country.
Truck driver George Roupakias, 45, who has allegedly confessed his affiliation to the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, was charged as he appeared before an investigating judge in Piraeus.
Roupakias has been charged with voluntary manslaughter and illegal possession of a weapon and pleaded self-defense over the killing, said a judicial source who asked to remain anonymous.
He arrived at the court wearing a bullet-proof vest and under heavy security, with police and special forces surrounding the court. After a three-hour hearing, the magistrate ordered that he remain in custody.
Shouting "Stop the fascists," some 2,000 protesters, according to an AFP journalist, carried banners and flags condemning fascism as they marched peacefully in the western Athens district of Nikea, close to the area where 34-year-old hip hop artist Pavlos Fyssas was fatally stabbed early on Wednesday.
"We want to kick the fascists out of our neighborhoods. All these years they terrorize, they beat people and even reached the point of murder," Thanassis Diavolakis, municipal councilor in Piraeus near Athens, told AFP.
"Today we are sending one more message to Golden Dawn fascists that they are unwanted in our neighborhood," added protester Katerina Doridou.
Fyssas, who wrote music under the nickname Killah P, was fatally stabbed in the working-class Athens district of Keratsini early on Wednesday.
Police have said the victim pointed Roupakias out as his attacker before dying.
Golden Dawn quickly denied links with the alleged killer, but pictures soon surfaced of Roupakias participating in party activities and members of his family reportedly worked for the organization.
The authorities are now bringing the full force of the law against the party and on Wednesday Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said he would not allow Golden Dawn to "poison" society and "undermine" democracy.
On Friday, Citizen's Protection Minister Nikos Dendias handed the investigation of alleged Golden Dawn crimes to the nation's elite anti-terrorism squad.
Capitalizing on rising social tensions in crisis-hit Greece, Golden Dawn was first elected to parliament in 2012 with nearly seven percent of the vote, winning 18 seats out of an overall 300.
The party has sent black-clad squads to smash the stalls of migrant peddlers, held torch-lit rallies condemning political opponents as 'traitors' and 'thieves' and organized food donations for Greeks only.
The organization has also been accused of carrying out a series of brutal attacks on migrants and political opponents, though it denies any responsibility and says it is the victim of slander.
Thousands took to the streets this week to protest against far-right extremism, while police clashed with protesters in cities across the country late on Wednesday.
© AFP 2013