On Thursday, Greek prosecutors in Athens ordered the arrest of Ilias Kasidiaris, the spokesman and MP of Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, because he physically attacked two female leftist politicians during a live TV debate.
During the heated argument he had with Rena Dourou from the leftist Syriza party, who was sitting across the table from him, Kasidiaris threw a glass of water at her after she mentioned his alleged involvement in a 2007 mugging. When Liana Kanelli from the Communist Party, who was sitting to his left, joined in the argument, Kasidiaris turned to her, slapped her face, and punched her.
The debate came just before the upcoming Greek elections on June 17.
Kasidiaris left before he could be apprehended and later called the TV station, claiming Kanelli had attacked him first and that the station had doctored the images.
In the May 6 elections, the Golden Dawn Party shocked European observers when they won seats in the parliament, the first time since 1974 that the far-right has been represented in the Greek parliament.
Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos has publicly stated that there were no gas chambers in Auschwitz and has claimed the numbers of Jews killed in the Holocaust has been greatly exaggerated. His xenophobia extends to others, too; he has suggested mining the Greek-Turkish border to keep out illegal immigrants.
Reaction across the board was uniform: the Greek government condemned the attack “in the strongest terms,” the conservative party New Democracy called the attack a “shame to society and the political system,” Syriza said Kasidiaris had “revealed the true face of this criminal organization,” and the trade union of journalists said it was “time for the police to deal” with Golden Dawn.