Tensions mar regional authority swearing-in ceremony

Tensions marred the swearing-in ceremony of the Epirus Regional Authority in Ioannina, northwestern Greece, on Saturday as a large crowd of leftist demonstrators turned out to protest the presence at the event of two Golden Dawn officials who are to sit on the council.

A large police presence stopped the tensions escalating, while the Bishop of Ioannina Maximos approached members of anti-fascist groups in the crowd to hear their grievances. In his speech at the inauguration ceremony, the bishop called for a crackdown on extremism.

“We must try to stamp out extremist behavior which arises precisely because we aren’t doing our job right,” he said.

Similar ceremonies in Athens, Thessaloniki and Larissa were also marked by tense exchanges between leftists and neo-fascist supporters of Golden Dawn last week.