ATHENS – With its lawmakers already charged with assaulting two rivals, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party is dismissing a second assault, that of Corinth Mayor Alekos Pnevmatikos with a whip by another of its Members of Parliament, Efstathios Boukouras, despite outrage from other political parties.
According to local media in Corinth, Boukouras used some kind of military whip in the alleged attack on the mayor following a dispute about a forest fire in the area of Solomos. There were no details about the injuries suffered by the mayor, who reportedly called the far-right MP “a scared little man” a few days ago.
The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party called for an investigation but Golden Dawn officials dismissed it as “ridiculous.” The PASOK Socialists, who with the Democratic Left are partners in a coalition government led by New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras, called for a “democratic front” to prevent the spread of “intensifying far-right provocations” which PASOK said threaten to turn Greece into a fascist country.
Earlier this year, the party’s spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris was shown on a live television program throwing water into the face of SYRIZA lawmaker Rena Dourou and then slapping Communist MP Liana Kanelli. He went into hiding to avoid being prosecuted, getting around Greece’s curious law which requires the apprehension of a suspect within 48 hours. He was elected to Parliament on June 17 and sits on the same committee with the two women he assaulted. Instead of being arrested, Kasidiaris sued the women he assaulted and charged them with unprovoked verbal abuse.
He has a history of assaults and was due to appear in court earlier this year to face charges of being an accomplice to a violent attack on a student five years ago, purportedly driving the car that carried the attackers. The case was postponed until September 3rd. Despite the assault on the MP’s and the previous charges, he was allowed to take a seat in Parliament where the party has 18 seats and continues to make provocative statements.
Golden Dawn has been linked to a series of beatings of immigrants, consistent with its platform to rid Greece of all foreigners and is well known for anti-Semitic views as well, stating that it wants “Greece for Greeks” and wants to expel immigrants, including children born in Greece and who speak Greek.
On July 25, the party placed an anti-Semitic musician, Artemios Mattheopoulos, as an MP to replace another member who resigned. He is known as a composer of hate lyrics as a member of a band called Pogrom, meant to mean a massacre, especially of Jews. He wrote a song entitled “Auschwitz,” after the name of one of the notorious Nazi death camps, as part of a repertoire that Jewish organizations complained had “fiercely racist, fascist, vulgar and anti-Semitic songs” such as “F**k Anne Frank.”
The Jewish group wrote President Karolos Papoulias and asked him to take “all necessary measures to keep those who extol Nazism out of the mainstream of our country’s political and social life.” Voula Papachristou, a Greek Olympian in the triple jump, was expelled from the team just before the start of the London 2012 Games for re-sending a racist Tweet from Golden Dawn and was found to be a supporter of the party and Kasidiaris.