Lawmaker of conservative New Democracy, former Member of the European Parliament and ex Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos was violently attacked by a mob during a protest for the Pontus Greeks outside the Parliament in Athens earlier today.
The mob punched him, attacked with with wooden sticks and torn apart his clothes. With great effort and in shock Koumoutsakos managed to escape his attackers. He reportedly tried to approach a riot police unit while the mob was throwing stones, plastic water bottles and sticks to him. He was wounded in the face and head.
At the end, the victim managed to climb the stairs of the Parliament and seek refugee inside. He was treated by the emergency unit in the Parliament.
Video: the attack
Video: the crowd chants “Thugs, Traitors, Politicians” as Koumoutsakos is under attack
Another ND MP Miltiadis Varvitsiotis was reportedly also attacked with stones and water bottles, but he managed to escape before things got worse.
Koumoutsakos had joined the rally of Pontus Greeks who had gathered at Syntagma square to protest the resent statements of Education Minister Nikos Filis. A couple of days ago, the SYRIZA minister had stated that the slaughter of Pontus Greeks by the Turks in the beginning of 20th century was not “a genocide but an ethnic cleansing.” Filis statement triggered an outrage among Greeks in general and Pontus Greeks in particular.
The Pontic Greeks, also known as Pontian Greeks are an ethnically Greek group who traditionally lived in the region of Pontus, on the shores of the Black Sea and in the Pontic Alps of northeastern Anatolia of Turkey.
The Pontic genocide is part of the Greek genocide that was acknowledged as such by the Greek Parliament in 1994. The International Association of Genocide Scholars passed a resolution in 2007 recognizing the Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Ottoman Empire, including the Greeks, as genocide. Some other organisations have also passed resolutions recognizing the campaign as a genocide, as have the parliaments of Cyprus, Sweden, Armenia, the Netherlands, and Austria.
Filis’ statement were understood as an insult to the victims of the genocide, therefore the protest rally today.
The man who punched Koumoutsakos right in the face has been allegedly identified to be a member of the right-extremists of Golden Dawn. Private MEGA TV opened its prime time news this evening with a video showing clearly that the man was in the block of Golden Dawn that had also joined the protest. “The man was in one of the 5 buses the GD has organized to carry supporters from West Athens to the protest at Syntagma. His nick name is the trainer,” MEGA alleged. Greek media report that the Greek police has evaluated footage material and picture and is now searching for the man.
Speaking at the Greek Parliament after the attack Koumoutsakos spoke of the attackers as known “xenophobic and racist extremists.”
What is interesting is that the attack occurred in front of the eyes of riot police squads who did apparently little to nothing to protect Giorgos Koumoutsakos or catch the assaulters. An internal investigation is under way by the Ministry of Public Protection on the issue.