ATHENS (Reuters) - A lawmaker from Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party was given a suspended prison sentence on Monday for trying to hit the mayor of Athens in a 2013 incident linked to the group’s anti-immigrant activities.
A court handed down the four-month suspended sentence on George Germenis for attempting to cause bodily harm.
Golden Dawn, which rose from obscurity by tapping into popular anger during the country’s economic crisis, tried in May 2013 to distribute food to ethnic Greeks only on a central Athens square in front of parliament.
However, Mayor George Kaminis banned the event, calling it a “soup kitchen of hatred” and police scuffled with Golden Dawn supporters when they prevented the distribution.
Germenis then confronted Kaminis at a separate event elsewhere in the Greek capital when the mayor was handing out Easter presents to children.
Greek media broadcast a video of the incident. The mayor said that Germenis tried to hit him but was stopped by security men.
Germenis denied any wrongdoing, saying his intention was merely to protest against the ban on the Golden Dawn event. Legal cases often take several years to come to court in Greece.
Κaminis, who testified against Germenis, said that Monday’s ruling was a “landmark decision”.
In 2013, Greek police arrested Golden Dawn’s leader and more than a dozen senior party members following the killing of an anti-fascist rapper by a party supporter. That trial is still ongoing.
The party’s leader has been given a suspended prison sentence for incitement of illegal activity, violence and discord.
Reporting by Constantinos Georgizas and Renee Maltezou; editing by David Stamp