Far-right Greek politician assaults women during TV debate
THE spokesman of Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party slapped one female politician in the face and threw a glass of water at another during a live TV debate yesterday, causing political uproar and an order for his arrest.
Other political parties condemned Ilias Kasidiaris for the assault on the two women during a morning talk show on private television station Antenna ahead of the June 17 parliamentary election.
Mr Kasidiaris, whose party entered parliament for the first time on May 6, was locked in a room at the TV studio but broke down a door and escaped, the TV host said.
A public prosecutor ordered police to track him down and arrest him on charges of causing serious bodily harm.
The TV debate descended into chaos when Mr Kasidiaris threw a glass of water at Rena Dourou, a member of the radical left-wing SYRIZA party and called her a "joke".
As other panellists watched in stunned silence, Communist party deputy Liana Kanelli intervened on Ms Dourou's behalf, throwing a newspaper at Mr Kasidiaris, who called her a "commie", stood up, pushed her and hit her hard in the face.
"I was worried he might throw the glass and hurt somebody," Ms Kanelli told reporters later. She showed a dark bruise on her cheek, saying: "It's my badge of honour."
Golden Dawn came from nowhere to win 7pc of the inconclusive vote in May and enter parliament for the first time, riding a wave of hostility towards 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.
Its support has slipped ahead of the repeat June 17 vote, but it is still expected comfortably to exceed the 3pc threshold needed to win parliamentary seats.
Golden Dawn said in a statement on its website that Mr Kasidiaris had been provoked: "If anybody wants us to condemn our colleague over this indeed unfortunate moment, they should first condemn Ms Kanelli's attack and slandering."
Mr Kasidiaris, who was elected to parliament, faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted but may be fined instead.
He is already due to stand trial on June 11 on separate charges -- which he denies -- of helping assailants attack a university professor in 2007.