The chapter of the ongoing trial against Golden Dawn related to an alleged attack by members of the far-right party against supporters of the communist-affiliated PAME union in September 2013 caused tension both inside and outside the Athens Appeals Court on Monday.
Inside the court, judges were forced to call a brief recess when tension mounted during the testimony of key witness Sotiris Poulikoyiannis, who suggested that the attack against the PAME activists was “organized.” The head of the Attica Metalworkers’ Union told judges that he and a group of around 20 PAME supporters were putting up flyers for a concert in Piraeus when they were surrounded by some 50 GD members and viciously beaten.
Poulikoyiannis claimed that he was privy to evidence suggesting that the attackers were acting on behalf of business interests looking to weaken the union’s hold over the ship repair industry in the port of Perama, a suburb of Piraeus. “You are finished at the port. We’re running the show now,” Poulikoyiannis claimed to have been told by one of two assailants he identified in court.
Outside the court, meanwhile, self-styled anarchists threw stones and sticks at Golden Dawn supporters gathered on central Alexandras Avenue, with several climbing onto the rooftops of nearby buildings and launching attacks from that vantage point. The violence escalated when riot police intervened, leading to the injury of three riot officers. Two plainclothes security officers were also assaulted.
The injuries prompted the union representing the capital’s police force to file suit against the corp’s political leadership for failing to protect officers in the line of duty.