Video: Greek crisis gets dirty as Golden Dawn’s Kasidiaris punches opposition politician
THE SPOKESMAN for Greece's far-right party Golden Dawn threw a glass of water at a female leftist politician and slapped another one in the face on live television on Thursday, causing a political uproar and leading a prosecutor to seek his arrest.
The morning talk show on private television station Antenna was interrupted by the incident and Ilias Kasidiaris was locked in a room at the TV studio but he broke down a door and escaped, the TV host said.
Police have been told to track Kasidiaris down and arrest him, a court official said.
What was a heated debate over the June 17 elections descended into chaos when Kasidiaris threw a glass of water at the female leftist party member, Rena Dourou, calling her a "joke".
As other participants watched in stunned silence, Communist party deputy Liana Kanelli intervened on her behalf, throwing a newspaper at Kasidiaris, who called her a "commie", stood up, pushed her and hit her hard in the face.
Golden Dawn won parliamentary seats in May 6 elections, riding a wave of discontent against illegal immigrants in austerity-ridden Greece. The party denies it is neo-Nazi, though its chief Nikos Mihaloliakos delivers Nazi salutes and has denied the Holocaust.
Political rivals were quick to condemn the assault, and some urged Golden Dawn supporters to change their minds before the June 17 vote, which was called as no working majority emerged from the election last month.
"We are urging citizens who voted for Golden Dawn to reconsider," said Fofi Gennimata, a spokeswoman for the Socialist PASOK party. She added no PASOK representatives would take party in television debates with Golden Dawn members.
Golden Dawn said in a statement on its website that Kasidiaris had been provoked.
"If anybody wants us to condemn our party fellow over this, indeed unfortunate moment, they should first condemn Kanelli's attack and slandering."
Kasidiaris, who is a member of parliament, is sought for attempting to inflict dangerous bodily harm, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in jail. The sentence, however, can be turned into a fine.