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Journalists Aren't Safe from the Flying Fists of Greece's Fascists

We were in Athens when some reporters and our photographer were attacked by Greece's Golden Dawn party.

by Melpomeni Maragkidou; Photos: Alexia Tsagari
12 April 2016, 12:00am

This article originally appeared on VICE Greece

What could have been a typical afternoon in the center of Pireaus, a port city within Athens, took a turn when far-right Golden Dawn members attacked anti-fascists on Friday, April 8. So far, so average—except journalists were sucked into the fray this time, getting slapped, kicked, and hit with iron bars.

Let's set the scene. An hour and a half before a Golden Dawn march "against the Islamization of our country" and half an hour before anti-fascist groups in turn gathered against them, about 100 Golden Dawn members met in front of Pireaus Municipal Theater. Not too far away, in Korai square, about 30 anti-fascists had gathered.

When the Golden Dawn lot noticed the antifa, scuffles broke out after Ilias Kasidiaris—Golden Dawn MP and party spokesperson—encouraged the far-right group to rush the anti-fascists. Golden Dawn members did just that, and started to rush the anti-fascists while riot police looked on.

Chaos ensued. A man dressed in black, who had separated from Golden Dawn's ranks, slapped and kicked VICE photographer Alexia Tsagari, who was covering the incident, in the face. Alexia was hit in front of the police, who didn't intervene.

Videos uploaded online soon after the unrest showed a black-clad Golden Dawn member in a helmet attacking a Greek TV channel cameramen with iron bars (see the video below). When police finally intervened, they used stun grenades and tear gas, and detained a blood-stained anti-fascist who had been injured in the attack by Golden Dawn members.

Police vans blocked the street in front of the Municipal Theater of Piraeus, functioning as a wall to separate the two sides. The Golden Dawn members were restricted to the area in front of the Piraeus police department, while the anti-fascists denounced the police for collaborating with Golden Dawn and said that they wouldn't leave unless the police released the injured anti-fascist protester, who was released shortly after.

The Golden Dawn rally included many senior officials of the organization, such as Ilias Kasidiaris (obviously), senior Golden Dawn deputy Yiannis Lagos and others, while the anti-fascist gathering was organized by the United Movement Against Racism and the Fascist Threat (KEERFA), Pireaus' local anti-fascists and a militant anti-fascism organization.

Both VICE photographer Alexia Tsagari, and the E.TV journalists are in good health. See more of Alexia's photos from the day below.