The Greek far-right politician who assaulted two left-wing politicians on live television has appeared before a public prosecutor to press charges against the women. Wearing aviator sunglasses and surrounded by black-clad bodyguards, Ilias Kasidiaris, the official spokesman of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, repeated allegations that the extraordinary punch-up, relayed on live television, had been a "set-up". "I will press charges for provocation," the 31-year-old former commander said as he arrived at the magistrate's office.
Kasidiaris, who on Sunday night appeared at an election rally where he was cheered on by supporters, said he would also press charges against the television channel Antenna, which screened the talkshow, for attempting to "illegally restrain" him after the incident. According to reports, staff at the TV station tried to keep him in the building when Kasidiaris fled the studio moments after lashing out at Liana Kanelli, the spokeswoman of the KKE communist party, and Rena Dourou, a leading member of the radical Syriza party. Kanelli was slapped three times around the face after standing up to protest at Kasidiaris throwing a glass of water at Dourou.
Kasidiaris, a martial arts expert, was said to have threatened Antenna TV personnel, taking photographs of them with his mobile phone, before he eventually pushed his way out of the building. He then disappeared until the expiration of an arrest warrant on suspicion of grievous bodily harm issued by the state prosecutor Eleni Raikou. In an excoriating attack on journalists on its website on Monday, Golden Dawn accused the media of working in cahoots with Raikou and said it would also demand that telephone conversations be published between journalists and the state prosecutor.
Kasidiaris appeared before the public prosecutor in Athens after failing to show up in court earlier in the day on charges of complicity in another, unrelated attack on a postgraduate student five years ago. The politician, who has denied being involved in the incident in which the student was stabbed, faces five charges, including illegal possession of a weapon, in the 2007 attack. The trial, which has been repeatedly postponed, was delayed yet again after Kasidiaris's lawyer argued he could not attend because of court work outside Athens. The criminal court set a new date of 3 September for the trial.