Why this story matters:
Nationalists verbally and physically attacked the mayor for co-organizing the LGBTQI+ “Radikal Pride”. They didn’t even hesitate to kick him in the head and legs and beat him with bottles, while bystanders watched as if nothing was happening.
The blind hatred which overtook the mob attacking Yiannis Boutaris, the 75-year-old mayor of Thessaloniki -- Greece’s second-largest city -- painted the city dark colors.
The vulgarities launched against Yiannis Boutaris, were treated as the “simple side effect” of a large meeting.
But this was no coincidence. For four months, far-right nationalism had been resurfacing in the city of Thessaloniki, through sophisticated comments on serious websites and newspapers as well as through nationalistic comments in radio sports shows.
Are there still some who believe that fascism is a rare pathology present only in historical dictators, and that large meetings can spontaneously erupt into violent, targeted attacks? If so, those who were arrested for assaulting Yiannis Boutaris will have an easy time defending their actions.
Details from the story:
- Boutaris was attending an event commemorating the first world war massacre of the Black Sea Greeks by Turks, known in Greece as the “Pontic Genocide”, when his attackers forced him to the ground, punching and kicking him.
- He was immediately transported to the hospital with head, back and leg injuries, from which he is recovering now.
- Yiannis Boutaris is known for his anti-nationalist views.
- Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in a statement, called the attackers “far-right bullies who have to face the consequences of their actions”.
- New Democracy, the main opposition party also condemned the attack and called for the perpetrators to be arrested immediately.
- Four people were arrested. The three of them were indicted for disturbing the peace, causing grievous bodily harm and causing disastrous damage. The fourth one is a minor and was referred to the juvenile court.
- The court imposed a 21 months prison sentence on one person. The other two perpetrators were sentenced to 14 months in prison.
- According to the police's announcement, three more people were identified as attackers, during the preliminary examination. One of them is an active police officer.
- A total of twelve people have been identified by the police, for the attack on the mayor of Thessaloniki.