Greek neo-Nazi MP assaults female guest in TV debate
ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
Screengrab taken on June 7, 2012 from Antena TV shows Golden Dawn Member of Parliament Ilias Kasidiaris (2ndL) hitting Liana Kanelli, a female MP for the Greek Communist party during a talk show on ANTENA TV station. AFP Photo
Athens prosecutors on Thursday ordered the arrest of the spokesman and MP of Greece's neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party after he attacked two female leftist deputies during a live TV debate.
Ilias Kasidiaris has been ordered arrested for attempted grievous bodily harm following the incident during a morning debate ahead of elections on June 17, a judicial source said.
The incident, which can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/c425jfl, shows Kasidiaris throwing a glass of water at Rena Dourou from the leftist Syriza party before striking Liana Kanelli from the communist KKE party three times.
It shows Kasidiaris throwing the liquid in Dourou's face across the studio table after she brought up his alleged involvement in a mugging in 2007. A court case on the mugging was on Wednesday adjourned until Monday.
The clip then showed him assaulting Kanelli after she stood up to protest, appearing to slap her twice and throwing a punch as she held up her arms in defence and as the presenter of the programme attempted to intervene.
A journalist from the TV channel said that employees attempted to keep Kasidiaris on the premises after the incident but that he had left.
Kasidiaris, who is both spokesman and an MP for Golden Dawn, later phoned the television channel, accusing Kanelli of assaulting him first and saying that the channel had doctored the images.
Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) sent shockwaves through Europe by winning seats in parliament in May 6 elections, the first time that the far-right has been represented since the end of Greece's military junta in 1974.
Party leader Nikos Michaloliakos has said there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz and has questioned the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.
Whipping up xenophobia as Greece suffers its fifth straight year of recession and austerity cuts to pensions and salaries, he has also proposed mining the Greek-Turkish border to keep out illegal immigrants.
Reacting to Thursday's incident, the Greek government said it "condemns the attack in the strongest terms." "The least that every democratic citizen can expect is the categoric condemnation of this action by Golden Dawn," government spokesman Dimitris Tsiodras added in a statement.
New Democracy, the main conservative party, said the incident was a "shame to society and the political system" while Syriza said Kasidiaris had "revealed the true face of this criminal organisation," referring to Golden Dawn.
The left-wing Pasok party appealed to the 6.9 percent of voters who supported Golden Dawn in the last election to "seriously reconsider" their choice ahead of the June 17 poll.
The trade union of journalists said it was "time for the police to deal" with Golden Dawn.