Athens mayor hails efforts to stop Golden Dawn handing out food as victory for 'democratic state' [update]

Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis hailed on Thursday authorities efforts to prevent Golden Dawn handing out free food in Syntagma Square as a “victory for the democratic state”.

Police used tear gas to prevent members of the far-right party from using Athens’s main square to hand out food ahead of Orthodox Easter this weekend.

“Syntagma Square will never be used again by anyone to hand out goods,” he told Skai TV. “This square belongs to the city’s residents. Only the municipality can decide how it is used.”

Golden Dawn announced on Wednesday its plans to hand out food in front of Parliament ahead of Orthodox Easter this weekend.

However, Kaminis responded by saying that the charity event was illegal as no permission had been sought from the City of Athens. The mayor said that he would not let the “hate-filled” event take place.

Last year, Golden Dawn held a similar event in Syntagma Square, where it asked to see people’s ID cards before giving them food to ensure that migrants did not receive any of the goods.

Kaminis said that he had warned then that he would not allow such events to take place again.

“What happened today is a victory for the democratic state,” he said after riot police prevented Golden Dawn from holding its event in the square. “Thuggery will not prevail in this city as long as I am mayor.”

Kaminis said that the City of Athens feeds about 9,000 people a day at soup kitchens.

The extreme-right wing group said the handout would instead take place at the party's headquarters near the central Larissis train station.