Thessaloniki mayor, Golden Dawn clash over bear sanctuary donation

The controversy over the donation by ultra-right Golden Dawn of 5,000 euros to the bear sanctuary Arcturos continued on Thursday with Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris, the organization’s founder, emphasizing that the initial acceptance of the donation was a mistake and describing Golden Dawn as «killers.”

In comments to Skai, Boutaris said that even a donation of 5 million euros would not «cleanse» Golden Dawn which, he said, appeals to people’s basest instincts.

Boutaris added that he «accepts nothing from Nazis» and that this is why the organization returned the donation. «Golden Dawn wants to kill, and people who want to kill do not love the environment,» Boutaris said.

The mayor said he would accept money from the Communist Party (KKE), with which he was affiliated, as it is a «revolutionary party.”

Responding, Golden Dawn’s spokesperson Ilias Kasidiaris said he would not enter a discussion with someone who has sympathies for Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, who, he said, slaughtered thousands of Greeks. He was referring to the opening of a museum commemorating Ataturk in Thessaloniki, a project backed by Boutaris. Kasidiaris added that Golden Dawn is not a Nazi party.