A decision by New Democracy to attack SYRIZA over the comments of its MP Vangelis Diamantopoulos, which the conservatives interpreted as encouraging violence, led on Wednesday to the leftists threatening legal action and ND’s coalition partners expressing their objections.
On Tuesday evening, New Democracy released a video of Diamantopoulos delivering a speech in which he appears to suggest that Greeks taking up arms is a justifiable response to the crisis. He is also seen in the video saying that the Villa Amalia squat in Athens raided recently by police was not a center of lawlessness. He added that The Mall, a large shopping center in northern Athens bombed four days after the MP’s speech, was a more appropriate symbol of lawlessness.
Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou referred to Diamantopoulos as being “terrorist-friendly” and an “anarchist,” and accused him of making The Mall a target. SYRIZA responded by accusing Kedikoglou of presenting a heavily edited video of Diamantopoulos’s speech and of taking his comments out of context.
In the full version of the SYRIZA MP’s speech, he says: “At the moment, they are telling people: ‘In your exasperation, either commit suicide or pick up a gun.’ What we say is: ‘Join us and turn this rage into a creative movement. That’s the clear message from SYRIZA’.”
Diamantopoulos and SYRIZA threatened to take legal action against New Democracy for releasing what they labeled a “forged” version of the lawmaker’s 50-minute address. The conservatives said the 90-second video they released consisted of edited sequences.
PASOK spokeswoman Fofi Gennimata urged for there to be “national unity” rather than “petty bickering” between parties. The other coalition partner, Democratic Left’s spokesman Andreas Papadopoulos, tweeted that if the footage had been edited, then it was “despicable and shames the government.” “Utterly condemnable,” he added.