Anti-fascist fury in Athens after far-right MP hit rival



Greeks gathered for anti-fascist rallies across the country last night to protest against the actions of a far-right politician who punched a female opponent on a television show and then went on the run.

Ilias Kasidiaris, the Golden Dawn spokesman, attacked a left-wing candidate, Liana Kanelli, and threw a glass of water at another opponent in the heated debate on Thursday morning. He continued to evade police last night, with his arrest warrant due to expire today. A police spokesman, Athanassios Kokkalakis, told state TV: "We've been checking all the usual spots were this particular man could be."

As protesters massed for the evening rallies, Greeks took to the internet to express outrage at the actions of Mr Kasidiaris. Writing on the popular Protagon website, Dimitris, a photographer and computer science student, said that Mr Kasidiaris revealed the true nature of Golden Dawn. "They're dangerous neo-Nazis, so what happened was expected although absolutely unacceptable."

Maria Svoronou, a film director, echoed that: "I'm shocked by the incident but then again I'm shocked that people like these exist."

All leading newspapers lambasted the attack. A headline of the daily conservative newspaper Kathimerini said: "Climate of violence and sense of vulgarity plague the country."

But in a reflection of the deep divisions in Greece ahead of elections in less than 10 days, a Facebook page sprung up dedicated to the Golden Dawn member. It had garnered 6,000 "likes" within 24 hours.

"Blessed be the hand of Ilias Kasidiaris," the creators wrote. "Today Ilias did what the entire Greek people wanted: give a strong slap to the system and its representatives!"

On 17 June, Greece will hold elections that could determine the country's membership of the single currency. During the last inconclusive elections a month ago, Greeks – blaming mainstream politicians for rampant fraud and mishandling the crisis – cast a punishing vote in favour of smaller parties that vowed to purge the country of political corruption.

Golden Dawn's popularity surged on a platform of nationalist sentiment. It also pledged to "clean up" neighbourhoods that witnessed a rise in undocumented immigrants and crime.

Polls predict the party's support will decline at the forthcoming elections, but experts warn that the images of violence on the TV show could play in their favour.

Kostas Panagopoulos, the head of the polling company Alco, said that voters who abandon the party over the assault will be replaced by others who applaud this kind of behaviour.

"There is an audience for this – a part of the electorate who want Golden Dawn to beat up to instill order in Parliament and end corruption," Mr Panagopoulos said.

But the political analyst Theodore Couloumbis told Reuters news agency that he thought it could cost the anti-immigrant party votes. "My first reaction is that it will hurt their chances, especially with women," Mr Couloumbis said. "You saw right in front of you the full brutality and ugly behaviour of a young neo-Nazi man beating up a defenceless woman. It's as simple as that."

Women's groups also condemned Mr Kasidiaris, while a journalists' union asked that Golden Dawn members be banned from news shows.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before