Greek police said Sunday they were close to identifying one of the suspects involved in the attack against the mayor of Thessaloniki, in northern Greece.
So far evidence, based on footage of Saturday’s incident, suggests that the suspect belongs to the country’s far right movement.
Yiannis Boutaris was hospitalized overnight with head, back, and leg injuries after being set upon by nationalist extremists after a flag-lowering ceremony in commemoration of the so-called “Pontic Genocide,” the massacre of ethnic Greeks by the Turks during World War I and the subsequent Greek-Turkish war.
“They were hitting me everywhere. Kicks, punches, the lot,” Boutaris, 75, who is known for his strong anti-nationalist stance, said on Sunday. “It was a despicable attack, but I am well.”
Some attackers tried to smash the windows of Boutaris's car as he was driven away.
The country’s mainstream parties condemned the attack.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras described the attackers as “far right thugs.” Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Toskas pleged that the “far right thugs will face the consequences of their actions.”
The conservative New Democracy opposition said the “perpetrators of the fascist attack by those who exploit the idea of motherland must be arrested immediately.” The center-left Movement for Change and To Potami centrists also condemned the attack.
Israel’s embassy in Greece also condemned the assault, wishing Boutaris a speedy recovery.