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ATHENS (AFP) – The Greek press railed on Thursday over the murder of a leftist musician by an alleged supporter of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, amid mounting calls for tighter control of the group.
"The cold-blooded murder of a citizen by a Golden Dawn supporter must awaken everyone," liberal Kathimerini daily said in an editorial.
"There must be zero tolerance towards the criminal activity of this neo-Nazi organisation," it said.
"The monster of Nazism kills -- resist", centre-left daily Ethnos urged Greece's mainstream parties.
The calls came a day after police and protesters clashed as thousands demonstrated against fascism following the murder of popular hip hop artist Pavlos Fyssas.
The 34-year-old was fatally stabbed in the working-class Athens district of Keratsini early on Wednesday by a 45-year-old truck driver who later allegedly confessed his Golden Dawn affiliation to police.
The victim's family said that Fyssas and a small group of friends had been ambushed by a large gang of Golden Dawn supporters outside a cafeteria.
The killing came amid the latest wave of anti-austerity strikes in Greece, with thousands out in the streets protesting reforms the government has agreed to undertake in return for international bailout funds.
Following news of the Fyssas murder, those demonstrations quickly morphed into protests against fascism, with police firing tear gas at protesters in Athens, the northern city of Thessaloniki and the western city of Patras.
Greece's police minister, Nikos Dendias, said the government would toughen legislation on organised criminal activity to rein in Golden Dawn, which has been implicated in migrant beatings and attacks on rival party members.
Just days before Fyssas's killing, members of the Communist party were assaulted by alleged Golden Dawn supporters whilst putting up posters in Perama, another working-class district near Keratsini.
Golden Dawn has repeatedly denied involvement in these incidents, and until now its ratings have steadily risen in a country weary of austerity and political corruption.
But its activity has exposed Greece to international criticism just four months before it assumes the rotating European Union presidency in January 2014.
On Wednesday, the leader of the Socialists and Social Democrats group in the European parliament, Hannes Swoboda, expressed his concern in view of Greece's six-month stint as EU president.
"If the Greek government... fails to put a stop to the hate-filled behaviour of Golden Dawn... it will be an unacceptable presidency and not likely to bring any progress, either for Europe or for Greece," he said.