Dozens of furious members of the far-right spectrum, an angry mob attacked mayor of Thessaloniki, Yiannis Boutaris, during an event to commemorate the massacre of Pontus Greeks by Turkey in the beginning of 20th century.They kicked the 75-year-old mayor if when he fell on the ground. No arrest so far.
When the 75-year-old mayor approached the monument late Saturday afternoon, the crowd that had gathered for the commemoration event started to boo and verbally humiliate him. Some shouted at him “traitor” and soon the situation got out o control.
Dozens of men, the majority of them young, a mob, surrounded Boutaris, started to push him and even kicked him.
At some point, the 75-year-old mayor lost his balance and fell on the ground.
Two of his people accompanied him away, with the fascists chasing him and trying to attack him again.
The mob kept on throwing water bottles, stones and other items at the mayor.
Boutaris was in shock.
The mob attacked his car while he was getting in, one young man is seen to kick the mayor.
Interesting is the absence of police at the event and during the attack. Only one of two security guards are spotted on the dozens of videos posted on Greek internet.
Kalypso Gioula, the chairman of the city council who was accompanying the mayor said that the mob was beating and kicking Boutaris even when he was on the ground. “They wanted to harm him, they were beating him on the head, they even beat me and his police guards,” she said. Gioula pointed out at the absence of police and of organizers during the attack, “the mayor wa suprotected”.
Boutaris was taken to the hospital and was still there late Saturday night..
According to local media, seleo.gr, former local governor of Thessaloniki and founder of a nationalist party, Panagiotis Psomiadis, was giving an interview when when he heard the crowd booing Boutaris, he started to swear at him about his position on the Macedonia name issue.
“Look at him, he has sold Macedonia, this cholera,” Psomiadis said pointing at Boutaris, the crowd was shouting names at the mayor, and the tension started.
Political world condemns the attack.
The Prime Minister’s office issued a statement saying “the attackers were neither indignant citizens nor a gathered crowd. They are simply far-right bullies who have to to be confronted ace immediately with the consequences of their actions. As long as political forces allow far-right marginal elements to hide behind a supposedly patriotic sentiment, the snake of fascism will directly threaten democracy.”
Main opposition party, New Democracy, condemned the attack in the most explicit way and said in a statement ” the perpetrators of today’s’ fascist attack by those who exploit the idea of motherland must be arrested immediately.”
Mayor of Athens, Giorgos Kamminis, condemned the attack with a post on Twitter.
Η φασιστική επίθεση στον Γιάννη Μπουτάρη δεν προκαλεί μόνο ντροπή. Προκαλεί ανησυχία γιατί το αβγό του λαϊκισμού και του εθνικισμού έσπασε και απειλεί ανοιχτά τη δημοκρατία και την κοινωνία. Όλοι στεκόμαστε στο πλευρό του Γιάννη, στο πλευρό της Δημοκρατίας.
The fascist attack at Yannis Boutaris does not causes only shame. It is causes concern because the egg of populism and nationalism is broken and openly threatens the democracy and the society. We all stand with Yannis Boutaris, we all stand with Democracy.
PS Authorities have plenty of footage and pictures to identify the attackers as dozens of videos have been posted on Greek internet. A black day for democracy.