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Greece: protests against Golden Dawn party after Ilias Kasidiaris assaulted Liana Kanelli on live TV

Thousands of people have protested in Greece against the far-right Golden Dawn party after its spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris assaulted Liana Kanelli of the Greek Communist party on live TV.

Demonstrators shouted “Neo-Nazis out” in rallies called by left-wing and anti-racism groups in Athens.

On Thursday, Ilias Kasidiaris, a Golden Dawn MP, was filmed hitting a left-wing politician during a chatshow.

The rally comes nine days before elections which could result in a Greek exit from the Eurozone.

In polls a month ago, Golden Dawn surprised many by winning 21 seats in Greece’s 300-seat parliament.

A second election is taking place as no party was able to forge a coalition.

Prosecutors said an arrest warrant has been issued for Ilias Kasidiaris, whose whereabouts remain unknown after he fled the television studio on Thursday.

The assault took place during a live debate on a daily morning political show on the private Antenna television.

It started after Rena Dourou of the radical left-wing Syriza party mentioned Ilias Kasidiaris’s alleged involvement in an armed robbery in 2007.

He jumped up and threw a glass of water across the table at her, a You Tube clip of the Antenna television channel showed.

When Liana Kanelli of the Greek Communist party, the KKE, apparently threw a newspaper at him, he responded by slapping her around the face with three right-left blows.

Speaking to a TV station from an undisclosed location on Friday, Ilias Kasidiaris said he had been provoked.

“She [Communist party member Liana Kanelli] raised her hand and hit me first and since I respect my honor and my name, I had to defend myself. The police ought to arrest her,” he told Star TV, according to Reuters news agency.

The government and other political parties have condemned the attack.

“The government condemns in the most categorical way the attack by Golden Dawn spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris against Liana Kanelli and Rena Dourou,” government spokesman Dimitris Tsiodras said.

“This attack is an attack against every democratic citizen.”

Ilias Kasidiaris is already facing charges of theft and bodily harm, which he denies.

Golden Dawn campaigned on an anti-immigrant platform, and has even proposed planting mines along Greek borders to prevent the entry of migrants. It has been accused of violent attacks against immigrants in Athens, but denies the claims.

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