Mayor of Thessaloniki attacked
A group of people thought to be right-wing extremists attacked the mayor of Thessaloniki at a commemorative ceremony on the weekend. He suffered slight injuries. The 75-year-old mayor is known for campaigning for improved relations with Turkey and the rights of homosexuals and minorities. Commentators are dismayed by the political climate in Greek society which they say is encouraging such acts of violence.
Violence becoming normal
In crisis-stricken Greece the public debate is so heated that violence and lawlessness have become commonplace, complains Eleftheros Typos:
“The hate that has grown over the years of financial bankruptcy is based on social bankruptcy. The divisive words about 'gallows' and 'executions' for those who have 'betrayed' the country have strengthened the hatred of the thugs who were just waiting for this opportunity. The extremists have imposed their own brand of normality on the country. ... Something must be done quickly to restore the rule of law. But a political rhetoric that doesn't create civil-war conditions is also needed. If bold decisions aren't forthcoming all we can do is wait and see who will be the next victim of the extremist thugs.”
A danger for democracy
Former politicians also bear responsibility for the violence, writes the Mayor of Athens Giorgos Kaminis, who was once the victim on of an attack himself, in Ta Nea:
“The feeling of being pursued and the target of mob violence is something that can't be described. It takes hold of your soul and you try not to remember it. ... The fascist attack against the Mayor of Thessaloniki should not be interpreted as the action of a few fanatics. It represents a threat to democracy and normality in this country. Political forces on the left and right that have tolerated violence from time to time must be self-critical. Particularly the ruling party Syriza, which didn't condemn violence against politicians harshly enough in the time before it came to power.”