Nationalist mob attack Thessaloniki mayor at remembrance ceremony (VIDEO)
The mayor of Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki, was attacked by an angry mob of at least a dozen people, believed to be nationalist extremists, during a remembrance event on Saturday.
Yiannis Boutaris was hospitalized following the assault and treated for injuries to his head, back and legs.
Footage from the event shows the 75-year old being heckled by a group of people before he is struck with an object and falls to the ground. The mayor is then kicked while his aides help him up. As he is escorted to his car, some members of the group, including a man wearing a balaclava, kick the vehicle and try to smash the windows.
Boutaris, who is known for his anti-nationalist views, was attending a flag-lowering ceremony to commemorate the Pontic genocide – the massacre of Pontic Greeks by Turks during World War I and the Greek-Turkish war.
Protesters called for him to leave the event and subsequently attacked the mayor with bottles, according to city officials.
Boutaris was taken to hospital as a precaution. “It was a nightmare. There were several people that attacked me. They were hitting me everywhere,” he told The Greek Reporter. “They were not Pontians. Pontians are my friends,” he added.
The attack has been condemned by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the Syriza party, who have described the perpetrators as "far-right bullies who have to face the consequences of their actions." The main opposition party, New Democracy, also condemned the attack and called on the perpetrators to be "arrested immediately."
Mayor of Athens Giorgos Kaminis took to Twitter to describe the attack as “shameful,” and voice concerns that it “openly threatens democracy and society.”
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