A left-wing Greek parliament member on Monday accused the far-right Golden Dawn party for attacking him.
Dimitris Stratoulis, of the far-left SYZRIA party said that he was attacked by men during the break at a soccer game in the Athens Olympic Stadium on Sunday. According to Stratoulis the men said they belonged to the Golden Dawn, a group that has been accused of having fascist aspirations.
“We will kill you,” he recalls them as saying, reported The Associated Press. They then punched and kicked him, according to the publication. He suffered only light injuries in the incident, according to the BBC.
SYRIZA, which opposes austerity cuts in the debt-ridden country, condemned the attack and said that the alleged Golden Dawn members should face charges, calling it a “brutal assassination attempt,” The Guardian reported.
“It is certain that tolerance towards the fascist Golden Dawn will lead to loss of life. The response must be immediate and decisive before it’s too late,” SYRIZA stated, according to AP.
On Monday, Golden Dawn responded by filing a defamation lawsuit against Stratoulis.
“Golden Dawn has nothing to do with the attack against the SYRIZA MP,” it said in a statement. “The left-wing politicians who foment violence … should stop using the name of Golden Dawn.”
A spokesman for the Greek government condemned the violence as “unacceptable in our democracy,” reported The Guardian. “Violence has no place in our culture.”
The ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn has swelled in popularity over the past year, while denying that it is a fascist or neo-Nazi group. They have been accused of attacking immigrants and issuing threats against them.
Earlier this year, Golden Dawn spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris attacked two female parliamentarians on live television, slapping one in the face and throwing a glass of water at the other.
There have been fears of a potential conflict amid escalating tensions between left-wing and far-right groups inside Greece, as unemployment rates reaches record levels and poverty is on the rise. The country has been racked by austerity cuts to meet conditions for bailouts by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
In explaining some of the party’s ideologies, Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panagiotaros in October told the BBC that “there is already civil war” going on inside Greece.
“Greek society is ready--even though no-one likes this--to have a fight: a new type of civil war,” he said.
“On the one side there will be nationalists like us, and Greeks who want our country to be as it used to be, and on the other side illegal immigrants, anarchists and all those who have destroyed Athens several times,” he added.
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