Greek far-right lawmaker tries to strike Athens mayor

Greek far-right lawmaker tries to strike Athens mayor

ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
Greek far-right lawmaker tries to strike Athens mayor

Mayor of Athens Giorgos Kaminis addresses journalists , in Athens on May 2, 2013, after Greek police stopped on his request the realization of a food distribution, reserved only for Greeks, organized by the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn at the main Syntagma square of Athens. AFP PHOTO / Angelos Tzortzinis

Greek police fired tear gas to break up an event staged by far-right party Golden Dawn in Athens Thursday and one lawmaker tried to assault the city's mayor for banning the gathering, police said.

Golden Dawn MP Giorgos Germenis verbally abused and attempted to hit Athens mayor Giorgos Kaminis inside a municipal building. Local media reported Germenis was also carrying a weapon and that he ended up hitting a young girl instead.

"Raw violence in the form that we saw today and coming from an elected lawmaker will not be tolerated," Kaminis told the press after the incident.

Local tv station Mega showed images of Germenis being escorted away from the building by two security officers.

Earlier on Thursday, riot police used tear gas to disperse around 100 party supporters gathered in Syntagma Square in central Athens. They were trying to hold a food distribution event for "Greeks only".

According to the municipal authorities, Golden Dawn did not seek permission to carry out the distribution.

On Wednesday, Kaminis in a press release described the food distribution as "arbitrary, racist and illegal" and said that he would take "all adequate measures to prevent it from being realised." Three of Golden Dawn's lawmakers were present at the square, including spokesman Ilias Kassidiaris who shocked the country when he assaulted two leftist lawmakers on live television in June.

In a Greek first, Golden Dawn was elected into parliament at the June elections winning nearly seven percent of the vote and 18 seats out of an overall 300.

The party has benefited from a rise in social tensions, in a country experiencing a fourth year of austerity and a sixth year of continuous recession.

Many of the Goldwn Dawn supporters have recently been implicated in violent assaults against immigrants and the party is known for its anti-Semitic and xenophobic discourse.

Last year, Golden Dawn staged another food distribution at Syntagma square, for people that could prove their nationality by showing their identity cards.

In October, the parliament stripped two Golden Dawn MPs of their parliamentary immunities after they were charged with destroying property belonging to immigrants at a market near Athens.