British National Party chief Nick Griffin has pledged to work with Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn group and claimed its jailed leaders have been “persecuted”.
During a visit to Athens, Mr Griffin accused Greek authorities of staging a “pseudo-legal war” against the party.
“Long live freedom, victory to Golden Dawn … our time will come,” he said.
Mr Griffin is working to create a coalition of far-right groups to collaborate after May’s European Parliament elections. He highlighted Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party as another potential partner for the BNP.
More than a dozen Golden Dawn leaders were arrested last September following the death of an anti-fascist hip hop singer who was allegedly stabbed to death by a party supporter.
Leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos is in pre-trial custody on suspicion of murder. In a statement read by his wife, he praised Mr Griffin as a “militant patriot” and “great member of the European Parliament”.
Mr Michaloliakos, who denies the charges against him and claims he is a political prisoner, said his British counterpart was “struggling daily under adverse conditions for the independence of the British people against bankers and usurers. Our common fight continues.”
Golden Dawn is currently third in opinion polls and expected to fare well in the European elections.
During his visit, Mr Griffin told the Independent that the parties could work together on policies such as immigration and the break-up of the European Union.
“To an extent, I am [taking the lead] but Jobbik is very seriously involved as well. All the new MEPs will come together at the very start of July in Strasbourg, so that’s when it will all really begin.
“The relationship [with Golden Dawn] is still very much in its infancy. From what I’ve seen of them they are very similar to the other nationalists in Europe,” he told the newspaper.
Mr Griffin said suggestions that Golden Dawn was a neo-Nazi party were a “ridiculous smear” and told the Telegraph that he was “one of the few friends they have got”.
Mr Griffin was declared bankrupt earlier this month, and analysts said his stance on Golden Dawn was a further indication of his diminished political ambitions in Britain.