Greek fascist assaults two women on television

A male Greek fascist politician physically assaulted two left-wing women members of parliament during a television show June 8. There has been a warrant issued for his immediate arrest, although the man is in hiding currently.

Ilias Kasidiaris, the spokesman of the violent far-right extremist group Golden Dawn, got into a shouting match with the two women MPs, Liana Kanelli, a Communist from the KKE, and Rena Dourou, who’s with the leftist SYRIZA Party.

Attempting to shout them down Kasidiaris took to violence and threw water in the face of Dourou. When Kanelli came to her aid, Kasidiaris smacked her three times in the face.

The Golden Dawn is a far-right extremist group linked to violent attacks against immigrants. (Story continues after video.)

The assaults took place before a new round of elections June 17. SYRIZA and other left parties are favored to win.

In last month’s elections, voters, angry over more than two years of austerity measures and the misery resulting from them, punished the two ruling parties associated with those measures, New Democracy and PASOK. The anti-bank bailout left-wing SYRIZA (Radical Coalition of the Left) won a large number of seats, but all parties failed to form a coalition government.

A reflection of Greek voters’ anger and the inherent danger of the economic situation for the people, fascist Golden Dawn won seats in parliament in that election for the first time.

Greece was under Nazi occupation and fascist rule in the 1930s and 40s, and a military junta from 1967-1974. Golden Dawn associates itself with those rulers.

Greek journalist Joanna Kakissis, for National Public Radio, reported:

“Kasidiaris snapped. He threw a glass of water in Dourou’s face. And then – to the horror of the host who kept screaming no, no, no – he stood up and hit Kanelli in the face three times. Nick Malkoutzis, an editor at the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, says Greeks are horrified at the act.

“Malkoutzis said, ‘Greece is still a very sort of traditional male-dominated society, and punching a woman is completely unacceptable to most people, let alone if you’re doing it on live TV.’

“Kanelli told reporters later that the attack shamed the entire country:

“It happened to be my face, she said, but there are many faces that get hit by these people – faces of weak and scared victims that we never see.

“Political science professor Kostas Ifantis says he hopes voters now see Golden Dawn for who they really are.

“‘These people are not just pro-violence. It’s the definition of political violence. The hope is that at least some of those 440,000 people who voted for them will realize what their choice was,’ he said.

“Golden Dawn leader Nikolas Michaloliakos blamed the two women for provoking his party’s spokesman into losing his temper, Kakissis said in Athens.”

On a historical note, U.S. Senator Charles Sumner, an abolitionist, was severely beaten on the Senate floor by a pro-slavery representative. Sumner nearly died from the inflicted wounds. The near-fatal beating came two days after Sumner’s indictment of slavery speech, “Crime Against Kansas.”




Teresa Albano
Teresa Albano

Teresa Albano is associate editor of People's World and an award-winning journalist. Born and raised in Chicago, Albano is a member of the Chicago News Guild-Communications Workers of America and has been covering political, labor and social justice issues for more than 25 years. Albano was the first woman editor-in-chief of People's World, 2003-2010, leading the transition from weekly print to daily online publishing and establishing PW's social media presence.

Albano lived in New York City for 13 years and has traveled throughout the United States and abroad, including to India, Cuba, Angola, Italy and to Paris for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. She received awards from International Labor Communications Association, National Federation of Press Women and Illinois Woman Press Association, including its prestigious Silver Feather Award. Albano attends Northeastern Illinois University and recently received NEIU's Future Alumni Leader award. She will graduate in December 2016. 

Combining her passion for swimming and for social justice, she founded the blog, Swimming Social, during the 2016 Rio Games.