Independent Greeks leader to be probed for lynching remark

The leader of the right-wing, anti-bailout party Independent Greeks, Panos Kammenos, is to be investigated by a Thessaloniki prosecutor after suggesting residents of Halkidiki in northern Greece should “lynch” a local mayor for backing a gold mine in the region of Skouries.

Hours after news of the prosecutor’s intervention, conservative New Democracy described Kammenos as “the genuine expression of Golden Dawn’s ideas and practice,” referring to the neo-fascist party which has climbed in opinion polls since entering Parliament last year.

Kammenos made the comments over the weekend after a speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair when protesters told him that their drinking water contained arsenic, a chemical often used in gold mining.

“Pachtas should not be able to walk freely. You should lynch him,” Kammenos told the protesters, referring to the mayor of the municipality of Aristoteli, Christos Pachtas.

A Thessaloniki prosecutor is to determine whether Kammenos was inciting others to commit a criminal act, an offense that could result in him receiving a three-year prison sentence.

The party leader refused to retract his comments Monday, saying he would hand himself in to a prosecutor if a probe into the environmental impact of the gold mine is launched first.

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