Athens mayor struggles to keep far-right group in check

Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis is to invite the heads of the various political groupings on the City of Athens council for talks after another rowdy meeting of councillors on Monday threatened to get out of hand.

Kaminis decided on holding head-to-head meetings after more complaints about the behavior of the leader of the far-right Chryssi Avgi grouping Nikos Michaloliakos.

The outspoken Michaloliakos has already caused controversy at council meetings by verbally abusing leftist councillor Petros Constantinou and performing the Nazi salute.

On Monday, Michaloliakos asked for a constituent to address the council meeting and, after obtaining permission, the guest launched a verbal assault on Constantinou.

Representatives of other groupings also complained about the large number of associates that accompany Michaloliakos to council meetings.

City of Athens council rules mean that each grouping is only allowed a limited amount of guest passes for meetings but opponents have accused Chryssi Avgi of ignoring the restrictions and creating an intimidating atmosphere at City Hall.

Michaloliakos became the first member of Chryssi Avgi to be voted onto the City of Athens council in last November?s local election. The extreme right group campaigned very heavily in Aghios Panteleimonas and other central Athens districts with a high percentage of immigrant residents.

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