The mayor of Athens has pledged to prevent an extreme far-right party from staging food handouts only for Greeks in the capital's busiest square.

Giorgos Kaminis accused Golden Dawn on Wednesday of engaging in "racist and xenophobic charity." Kaminis said Thursday's planned handout is illegal and he would do his best to stop it.

Golden Dawn said it would ignore the mayor and distribute traditional Easter fare in Syntagma Square, ahead of Sunday's Orthodox Easter. Its previous Greeks-only handouts enjoyed considerable success.

The once-marginal group, which is fond of Nazi literature and symbols but rejects the neo-Nazi label, is the third most popular party in recession-mired Greece.

It won 18 of Parliament's 300 seats last year. Its members have been repeatedly linked with attacks on Greece's large immigrant population.