Greece's neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn had announced that it would conduct a food distribution for Greeks only ahead of orthodox Easter on Thursday 2 May in Syntagma square, Athens. This follows the pattern of all Golden Dawn socially-oriented actions, which aim at conspicuously excluding immigrants.
The Mayor of Athens, Giorgos Kaminis, stated on Wednesday that he would take all necessary measures to prevent the food distribution from happening on the grounds that it is a racist, discriminatory operation intended not to relieve people living in poverty but to provide Golden Dawn with a photo-op.
The mayor's statement (screenshot by @MakisSinodinos) reads: "Such events are a provocation for every democratically-minded citizen and are a hit to the effort to restore the image of the country and of Athens in particular, in that they send to Greek and international public opinion a doubly wrong message: that there is an overall situation of misery in the country's capital and that this can be addressed with racist, xenophobic acts of charity.
We want to make absolutely clear to all those involved that the Municipality of Athens considers tomorrow's gathering illegal and that we will do everything necessary for it not to happen."
Speaking on Thursday morning to newspaper Eleftherotypia, Kaminis added: "Thuggery will not pass. Of course there are problems in the city because of the economic crisis. [But] the idea of thuggery will not pass. There is a coordinated state and municipal authorities. As long as I’m mayor, this will not pass." He added that the Athens municipality prepares and distributes 9,000 meals a day in soup kitchens, and around 1,000 at schools ... "but it doesn’t tout it. [It does it] very discretely. "Solidarity is one thing, theatrical philanthropy is another."
Tweeps @MariaKagkelidou, @JanineLouloudi, @kakomyrios, @ElisaPerrigueur and @MakisSinodinos reported this morning that, as Golden Dawn brought their food distribution truck to Syntagma square, they were repelled by the riot police. They then moved back to their offices near the Larissis train station where the police used again pepper spray in clashes with party members. According to @MariaKagkelidou, "Golden Dawn had supplies left over after its Greeks-only food handout (...) I saw two containers of meat packed up at the end".
Eyewitnesses further reported that Golden Dawn MP Germenis tried to assault Mayor Kaminis and hit a 12-year-old girl instead (Facebook post, video, both in Greek). According to @MakisSinodinos the little girl is fine. Germenis has not been detained or arrested so far. As seen in this video, it appears that Germenis was carrying a gun (the men restraining him say"put down your weapon").
The attempt at food distribution in Syntagma, photo by @ElisaPerrigueur
Outside the Golden Dawn offices, photo by @MariaKagkelidou
Riot police guard the operations centre near the Golden Dawn offices, photo by @MakisSinodinos