Demonstrations in Greece quite often are synonymous with violence and destruction they cause. The attack on the Member of Parliament and former minister in the governments of New Democracy Kostis Hadzidakis during the yesterday's rally, however, broke the last barrier.
A group of demonstrators who participated in the procession of the two largest trade unions in Greece attacked and beat up the Member of Parliament who was passing near the procession at that time. The enraged mob started beating him with hands, umbrellas, stones and wooden sticks, yelling all the time "Thieves, you should be ashamed!"
Bleeding, the Member of Parliament was taken to the door of a neighbouring building and then to the Parliament, where he was given first aid. Then he was taken to hospital. He is still there and his condition is not of any concern.
In a message uploaded in his personal website hours after the beating Kostis Hatzidakis stated “I do not feel any hatred towards the people who attacked me yesterday. However, we all must understand that Greece can not prosper through hatred and violence." He stressed that all Greeks must do their best to help the country emerge out of the economic crisis and thanked his personal bodyguard and the two citizens that were injured in an attempt to protect him from the attackers.
Prosecutor Eleni Raikou ruled a preliminary investigation of the attack against Kostis Hatzidakis to be conducted to clarify who carried the attack and under what circumstances in order to identify the offenders who will be indicted for several crimes, one of which is causing grievous bodily harm. Prosecutors asked television networks to submit video footage of the attack on the Member of Parliament which will help to faster find the attackers, whose faces were covered.
The President of New Democracy Antonis Samaras required the attackers to be caught and punished exponentially. The party press centre circulated a message still yesterday reading that "attacks on any person are unacceptable and cognizable. Today's attack on Kostis Hadzidakis, however, is something more serious. It is in support of dubious and provocative intents." According to the New Democracy, the party's position against the economic policies of the government and the new labour relations "confused many people but New Democracy will not make any step backwards and will continue to be against the Memorandum and the necessary structural measures."
Today, the President of Greece Karolos Papoulias and all parliamentary parties strongly condemned the attack on Kostis Hatzidakis. Statements by members of the left coalition party SYRIZA that the attack was "a single case" provoked the sharp reaction of the Minister of Citizen Protection Christos Papoutsis, who stated that "when we want to wave the banner of social sensitivity we must take responsibility for expressing it in the most temperate manner." The left party is not for the first time in the midst of criticism on violence during processions and demonstrations. Two years ago SYRIZA was subject to serious attacks by other parties that it "kindled" the fury of the demonstrators during the protests that followed the murder of the 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos.
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