Greek mayor hospitalized after ‘far-right’ attack

Greek mayor hospitalized after ‘far-right’ attack

Greek mayor hospitalized after ‘far-right’ attack

The mayor of Greece’s second city Thessaloniki was hospitalized early on May 20 after an assault by suspected far-right members at a rally, officials said.

Yiannis Boutaris, 75, has repeatedly angered hardliners in Greece with controversial statements on Macedonia, Turkey and Israel. Among them is calling Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, a “great leader.”

The mayor had to be escorted from an event commemorating incidents during and after World War I in Turkey’s Black Sea region, Agence France-Presse reported.

Greece and Turkey have accused each other of violence at the time before Greeks in Turkey moved to Greece after Turkey’s War of Independence.

“They were hitting me everywhere. Kicks, punches, the lot,” Boutaris told Athens News Agency (ANA).

“It was a despicable attack, but I am well,” he said.

Footage from the event shows Boutaris initially being heckled. People begin throwing objects at him as he tries to leave, causing him to fall to the ground. Some of the attackers tried to break the windows of his car as it sped off.

The office of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the attackers were “far-right thugs.”