An attempt by members of Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party to hand out emergency food rations to Greeks only was broken up by police firing tear gas yesterday.
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's 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.
Golden Dawn held a similar event in Syntagma Square last year, after which the mayor vowed that he would not allow a repeat performance.
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.
His punch reportedly landed on a 12-year-old girl instead of the mayor, injuring her. (© Daily Telegraph, London)