Greek mayor hospitalised after 'far-right' attack

Thessaloniki (Greece) (AFP) –


The mayor of Greece's second city Thessaloniki was hospitalised early Sunday after an assault by suspected far-right members at a rally, officials said.

Yiannis Boutaris, 75, had to be escorted from the event on Saturday commemorating the massacre of Black Sea Greeks in Turkey during and after World War I when members of the crowd turned violent.

"They were hitting me everywhere. Kicks, punches, the lot," Boutaris told state agency ANA Sunday. "It was a despicable attack, but I am well."

Police on Sunday said they had detained two people in connection to the assault.

Footage from the event shows Boutaris initially being heckled. As he starts to leave, people start throwing objects at him and he falls to the ground.

Some of the attackers tried to break the windows of his car as it sped off.

The office of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the attackers were "far-right thugs".

The incident was praised by the daughter of the leader of Greece's neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, Ourania Michaloliakou, who accused Boutaris of being "anti-Greek".

"Bravo to each and every person who did their duty in Thessaloniki today. Respect and a thousand bravo," Michaloliakou tweeted on Saturday.

A maverick politician, Boutaris has repeatedly angered hardliners in Greece with controversial statements on Macedonia, Turkey and Israel.

Among them is calling Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern Turkish state and a hated figure in Greece, a "great leader".

He has also dismissed as "idiots" those opposing a compromise solution in Greece's longstanding name row with neighbouring Macedonia.