Golden Dawn MP charged over play protest

Police on Friday brought charges against an MP of the far-right Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) party, Christos Pappas, after he intervened in officers? attempts to detain a protester outside the Hytirio Theater in central Athens where a controversial play dramatizing the story of Christ and the Apostles was being staged.

Pappas and several other Golden Dawn MPs had joined a protest by members of fringe religious groups and nationalist organizations against the staging of Terrence McNally?s ?Corpus Christi.? As can be seen in a video on the Internet, Pappas reacted when police tried to arrest one of the demonstrators, dragging him off a riot bus. The video has been forwarded to a prosecutor, who is to decide what charges Pappas will face and whether any police officers should also be charged.

A journalist with Lifo magazine, Manolis Vamvounis, who was outside the theater on Thursday night, claimed in Twitter postings to have been beaten by protesters while police officers allegedly stood by.

Among the Golden Dawn MPs attending Thursday?s protest was Ilias Panagiotaros, who is alleged to have threatened the actors in the play, telling them, ?Your time will come.? Meanwhile party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris declared that Golden Dawn would ?intervene forcefully whenever the religious sensibilities and collective history of Greeks is insulted.?

In a related development, a woman with dual citizenship -- Greek and British -- complained to the British Embassy that she had been stopped by five far-rightists who demanded to see her ID and forced her to speak Greek before letting her go. Skai understands that several embassies have received complaints from their citizens that members of Golden Dawn have demanded to see their IDs.