Riot police stop Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn Party from handing out food to Greeks only
Yannis Kemmos / Newsbeast / AP Members of Golden Dawn party try to organize the unloading of food from a truck as riot police look on in central Athens, Thursday, May 2, 2013. Police prevented Golden Dawn from setting up a free food distribution event for Greeks only in the city’s main Syntagma Square, opposite Parliament, in defiance of a municipal ban on such events in the square.
The party, which has attracted widespread condemnation for its xenophobic, racist policies, attempted to distribute bread, eggs and lamb to Greeks outside parliament in Athens’ Syntagma Square, before the start of the Greek Orthodox Easter on Sunday.
But the stunt ended in chaos, with Golden Dawn members in black T-shirts hitting riot police over the head with rolled up Greek flags on poles and the police firing a volley of tear gas.
The party had tried to push ahead with the food handout in defiance of a ban imposed by George Kaminis, the mayor of Athens.
He had called the plan a “soup kitchen of hatred” because only people able to prove their nationality by showing a Greek identity card were eligible to receive food. It was “arbitrary, racist and illegal”, he said.
Yannis Remmos / AP / Newsbeast Riot police try to stop members of Golden Dawn party to unload a vehicle with food in central Athens, on Thursday, May 2, 2013. Police prevented Golden Dawn from setting up a free food distribution event for Greeks only in the city’s main Syntagma Square, opposite Parliament, in defiance of a municipal ban on such events in the square.
During a day of acute tension, Mr Kaminis alleged that a Golden Dawn MP, Giorgos Germenis, tried to punch him and that he drew a hand gun. Police said Mr Germenis had moved “menacingly” against the mayor and that they would investigate the firearm allegations.
He was led away by security officers. His punch reportedly landed on a 12-year-old girl instead of the mayor, injuring her.
About 200 party members turned up in the square more than two hours earlier than expected and began handing out bags of food after checking recipients’ identity cards.
“Golden Dawn will stand beside Greeks, it will stand by the suffering Greeks whatever decisions the immigrant-loving Mr Kaminis takes. Greeks, keep your heads high, happy holidays! We will take our country back,” said Christos Pappas, the head of the Golden Dawn parliamentary group.
Scuffles broke out between party members and riot police as authorities tried to prevent the party’s truck from unloading its cargo of meat and other goods.
Police used pepper spray to force back party officials holding Greek flags on thick wooden sticks, and the truck was eventually forced to move on.
“Today the logic of violence, of thuggery, of ’having my way’ was beaten,” said the mayor. “Syntagma Square will never be used again by anyone to hand out goods. Thuggery will not prevail in this city as long as I am mayor.”
The party transferred the handout to its offices in another part of the capital, where hundreds of supporters gathered.
NWN: We hope the Golden Dawn get into positions of influence and sack each and every copper that attacked them, and strip them of their beloved pensions. They should be able to give 'their' food to whomever they wish.