Golden Dawn slams Papachristou ban

Greece's far right Golden Dawn party on Thursday condemned a decision to expel triple jumper Voula Papachristou from the Greek Olympic team over comments she posted on Twitter which were deemed racist.

“The expulsion of an athlete in the wake of backstage political interventions -- simply because of a joke that is going around the Internet -- proves how miserable and anti-Greek our state and the international bodies that use the Olympic ideals as their own are,” the party said in a statement.

“The only racism in Greece is the racism against the Greeks,” it said.

“Anybody who says even a word against illegal immigrants is held up to public ridicule... It would be more honest to pass a law condemning everybody who has different views to death by stoning,” it said.

Papachristou was due to compete in the London 2012 Games, which officially start this Friday. But the Hellenic Olympic Committee said her posts mocking African immigrants and expressing support for Golden Dawn went against the Olympic spirit.

Papachristou has apologized for the “unfortunate and tasteless joke.”

Golden Dawn, which won 7 percent of the vote in Greece's recent elections on the back of a rising anti-immigrant sentiment, also attacked Democratic Left, a member of the country's governing coalition, for allegedly being the first party to ask for Papachristou's punishment.

“Unfortunately, the country that gave birth to the Olympic spirit -- a spirit that elevated and deified the excellence and superiority of Hellenism -- is dominated and ruled by Marxist parties like Democratic Left,” the party said.


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