New Democracy lawmaker and former minister Nikos Dendias on Monday described to the press an attack he came under earlier in the day in Parliament by Golden Dawn spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris.
Video footage from Parliament showed Kasidiaris taking offense when Dendias walked in front of the Golden Dawn bench while the neo-Nazi spokesman was addressing the House’s Economic Affairs Committee.
“He said ‘hey, where are you going?’ I didn’t move and he pushed me with both hands,” Dendias said. “I continued to stand still and he made a move to attack me but others held him back… He then grabbed some bottles and started throwing water at me.”
The footage from Parliament TV's cameras did not show what ensued after the initial altercation, but witnesses in the House said that the situation quickly escalated with the involvement of other Golden Dawn MPs.
“I thought it right to stand my ground, because moving would have meant something. I stayed put and the result was that almost the entire parliamentary group of Golden Dawn started cursing, not just me, but also the former prime minister [ND’s Antonis Samaras] and Makis Voridis, throwing bottles, water and all sorts of objects,” said Dendias. “I know for a fact I had water thrown at me.”
Dendias suggested in his comments that Kasidiaris’s violent reaction was linked to the fact that while the conservative lawmaker was justice minister he had publicly accused Golden Dawn of being a criminal organization and was instrumental in building a case against the far-right party following the murder by a self-confessed member of rapper Pavlos Fyssas in September 2013.
“The issue is not personal. It is institutional, because the most chilling thing about it is not the insults, which simply show up the person making them. The really chilling thing is that Golden Dawn’s spokesman went on to say that his attack was not simply an attack by someone who lost his temper, but a political act of vengeance,” said Dendias.
The incident prompted committee chair Makis Balaouras to call for Kasidiaris’s immediate removal from the House.