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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 29 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 35
Neo-Nazis attack Gay couple in Athens
Section One
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Neo-Nazis attack Gay couple in Athens

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A Gay couple was attacked in central Athens on August 23 by a neo-Nazi mob of 10 to 15 men.

According to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, the attackers 'had shaved heads and were wearing black t-shirts,' the typical attire of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party.

Kathimerini said the couple was attacked in the upscale Pangrati neighborhood, east of the city's main soccer stadium. Both men were injured, with one needing surgery on his ankle.

The August 23 incident is only the latest in a series of anti-Gay assaults. Last month another Gay couple was attacked by a group of police officers who observed them holding hands.

Greece is generally considered a safe destination for LGBT tourists, and the main cities have significant and increasingly visible LGBT communities, with annual Pride Parades in Athens and Thessaloniki.

Ultra right-wing groups are growing in numbers, however, as the country's economy languishes in a seemingly permanent recession. Unemployment is now around 30% overall, and over 60% for workers under 30.

Golden Dawn took almost 10% of the vote in May elections for the European Parliament, becoming Greece's third-largest party. They ran on a nationalist, anti-immigrant, anti-Gay platform.

Many police officers are said to be Golden Dawn supporters. Police have repeatedly been accused of assaulting immigrants, just as they are accused of beating boyfriends George Kounanis and Harry Vasilakis in July.

The Greek Orthodox Church is also anti-Gay, although less stridently so than their Russian Orthodox colleagues. In January, LGBT activists staged a kiss-in in Piraeus, the seaport of Athens, to protest anti-Gay statements by Bishop Seraphim.

The Archbishop of Athens has taken a more moderate approach, urging church officials to be willing to 'change with the times.'

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