9 Jun 2012

Greek politician threatens to sue women he assaulted

A neo-Nazi Greek politician from Golden Dawn is reportedly suing two women he assaulted during a TV debate, claiming their misleading statements incited him to slap one and throw water at the other.

Ilias Kasidiaris was allegedly locked in a studio and broke down the door to escape after his astonishing assault on two left-wing politicians on Thursday. He remained in hiding on Saturday, eight days before divisive elections to determine Greece’s future.

Golden Dawn officials had no comment, Reuters reported from Athens.

Mr Kasidiaris, 31, a former army commando, was also allegedly involved in a 2007 mugging case scheduled for a hearing on Monday.

It was a question about the mugging case that reportedly led Mr Kasidiaris to throw water at Radical MP Rena Dourou. Communist Liana Kanelli called Mr Kasidiaris a “fascist” and he retorted with “old commie”, AFP and the Independent newspaper said.

The lawsuit threat, posted on a pro-Kasidiaris Facebook page on Saturday, was allegedly signed by Mr Kasidiaris but that could not be independently verified.


The author of the Facebook posting said Mr Kasidiaris regrets his involvement in the incident and would turn himself over to prosecutors but blamed the attack on the women for deliberately misleading the public to undermine Golden Dawn, a far-right party.

“The events that took place on Thursday morning on Antenna TV were staged with the sole aim of provoking an extreme reaction on my part,” the Facebook post said, according to Reuters.

“I am sorry that without intending to, I got mixed up in a case that has confused public opinion and was aimed at hitting Golden Dawn,” it said. There were no further details.

Golden Dawn, a far-right party which uses a symbol resembling a Nazi swastika, won 21 seats, 7 per cent of votes, in an inconclusive May election on a platform of standing up for Greeks suffering from austerity measures.

Immigrants fearful

The attack ignited overnight protests from voters worried about anti-immigration and racist candidates who may garner power in a 17 June election that has created deep divides in a country with 21 per cent unemployment and a five-year recession.

Supporters of Golden Dawn, meanwhile, crammed into an Athens hotel to hear party leader Nikos Michaloliakos rail against immigrant “scum” and government corruption that has brought Greece to its knees.

“People are becoming increasingly radicalised thanks to all the rhetoric in the EU and here against the anti-austerity leftist majority and that is opening the door for Golden Dawn,” veteran activist Petros Constantinou said. He fears, as do other Greeks, that the police have facilitated and protected Golden Dawn and now failed to capture Mr Kasidiaris.

Slow police reaction

“How is it possible that a man can do what he did in a television studio and yet manage to get away and stay on the run after a state prosecutor has ordered his arrest?” Mr Constantinou asked.

An earlier Golden Dawn party statement said their spokesman had been provoked by the female politicians waving papers at him.

“Ms Kanelli got up first… hitting him unprovoked in the face with a sheaf of documents,” it said.