ATHENS – Greek journalists said they were attacked by supporters of the ultra far-right Golden Dawn party who had gathered outside a court on July 4 to demonstrate while their jailed leaders were testifying.
The head of the Greek Union of Photojournalists, Marios Lolos, is expected to give evidence on July 7 about injuries suffered by two photographers covering the court appearance of Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos and other party lawmakers.
Simela Pantzartzi and Yiannis Kemos said they were attacked by Golden Dawn supporters outside the court. They said police, often accused of being sympathizers of the extremists, witnessed the beatings but didn’t act to stop it. Police have also been accused of beating journalists and photographers at previous demonstrations.
The magistrates investigating the far-right party were informed of the incident and asked Lolos to give a deposition. The Foreign Press Association also called on the government to take action but law-and-order Prime Minister Antonis Samaras hasn’t acted in previous cases of alleged police and protester brutality against journalists. Greece has a poor record of press freedom.
“The FPA invites the Public Order Ministry to take whatever measures are necessary to protect the constitutional right of the freedom of the press, shield media workers from such violent attacks and identify the perpetrators,” the union said in a statement similar to others which have been ignored by the government.
Lolos on July 2 filed a suit with an Athens prosecutor over the serious head injuries he suffered after he said he was repeatedly beaten with batons by riot police at a 2012 protest where he had been covering clashes during a riot sparked by a pensioner’s suicide against austerity measures.
Since the incident, Lolos has lost the sense of touch in his left hand and now has to take medication for epilepsy. He filed a suit against the moral instigator of the incident as well as the unidentified officer that attacked him.