We open with some of the latest protests, one at a shipyard, another at a police station, and a third at an airport, then follow with confirmation that any agreement on cuts is weeks away — most likely after the U.S. presidential election [which may be less than a coincidence. The Iron Chancellor is paying a visit Tuesday, following on an appeal directly to the German people by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
The IMF has thrown yet another roadblock in the path of approving the next round of bailout cash, and there’s a major disagreement holding up the the payout stemming from conflicting estimates of the Greek economy’s performance next year. Meanwhile, the eurobankster is firm that Greece won’t get more time to pay off its debts and the German money minister is holding up Greece as a bad example. The Wall Street Journal loves Samaras, the prime minister is declaring a Grexit would kill the country, and investors are calling for a cut in interest rates on bonds, while a hedge fund is buying them up.
A disgraced politician hangs himself, universities are closing, a drug program faces closure, a new too-big-to-fail bank is born, hate crime laws will be strengthened, and a pol gets a death threat.
More disturbances, arrests, as austerity bites
Shipyard workers stormed the defense ministry in Athens, then protested again outside police central after some of the workers were arrested, and farmers tried to close an airport in Crete.
Such were the latest in the ongoing round of anti-austerity protests.
Tension broke out outside the police headquarters in Athens on Thursday as shipyard employees turned up to demonstrate against the arrests of fellow workers during a protest earlier in the day.
At least three people were injured during scuffles.
Earlier, police arrested four workers and briefly detained another 110 during clashes at the defense ministry with some 250 workers from the Hellenic Skaramangas shipyard.
A group of protesters forced open the shuttered entrance to the ministry complex, crossing the courtyard and blocking the entrance to the general staff building. Riot police were called in to force back the demonstrators who were chanting “We want solutions, not layoffs!” and who demanded a meeting with ministry officials.
“First get off my base,” Gen. Michalis Kostarakos is said to have told the protesters, arguing the military had no part in the shipyard workers’ dispute with the government.
Workers from the Skaramangas shipyards, which deals mainly with military contacts, say they have not been paid in six months.
Here are clips of the protests.
First, the disorder at the defense ministry Wednesday from Reuters:
Next, the scene outside the police station Thursday, from AMNA:
More from Keep Talking Greece:
Protesters told the media, that “they have been cheated by the political leadership with several promises that never come true and thus on a daily basis” and that they demand their money.
What do private company workers want from the Defence Ministry?
The management of Skaramangas Shipyards wants two submarine-contracts from the Navy in order to keep the shipyard open and give work to workers. (Skai TV)
According to information of KTG, Skaramangas Shipyards has already built the two submarines however the project has not been concluded yet. The company has not received payments for the project that has a total cost of 1 billion euro. The Finance Ministry seems to have ‘frozen’ the project. Due to lack of money? Because the Troika wants cuts in the defence? There are several rumors about the whole issue…
With the project frozen, the workers are up in arms and the submarines are getting rotten in the shipyard…
And this from Agence France-Presse:
Ongoing austerity cuts and reforms to make the Greek economy more competitive have caused waves of strikes and protests, many of them violent.
Also on Thursday, around 1,000 farmers on the island of Crete tried to storm the runway of Heraklion airport and clashed with police.
The farmers, who were pushed back with tear gas, were protesting against lower tax returns and higher insurance contributions.
Doctors and nurses at public hospitals also demonstrated on Thursday at the health ministry in Athens against pay and budget cuts planned in the latest round of austerity measures, the fourth since 2010. The government is negotiating these measures with its creditors: the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Finally, this Reuters report on the protest in Crete:
An angry prime minister responds to strikes
Anonis Samaras is one unhappy fella these days, torn between the bitter austerian demands of the Troika and the rising rage of the Greek people.
But it was the protests he singled out for attack in his latest pronouncement.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Friday sought to express his government’s determination to put the country on the road to economic recovery while also condemning “those who don’t understand the meaning of law and order,” an apparent reference to the shipyard workers who stormed the Defense Ministry on Thursday.
“The government is waging a battle on all fronts for the country’s credibility and it future so that sacrifices of Greeks aren’t lost,” Samaras told reporters outside the Maximos Mansion on his return from a trip to Paris.
“I will not allow the country to become a free-for-all,” the premier said before slamming “those who don’t understand the meaning of law and order.”
Troika talks still deadlocked
The latest prediction: Representatives of the coalition and the Men in Black remain at an impasse, and according to the latest prediction, it’ll take at least two more weeks.
The coalition parties are fighting for their political lives, as parties on the left and right gain in popularity — with the greatest gains going to the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, which is effectively capitalizing on the xenophobia that seems to spontaneously generate in times of crisis.
Greece is to resume talks with the troika after Monday’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers in negotiations that may last another two weeks despite both sides noting progress on Saturday.
Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras met with officials from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund for more than three hours on Saturday but said that talks would have to continue next week as there was no final agreement on the details of the 13.5-billion-euro austerity package demanded by Greece’s lenders.
“The talks will go on as there is some divergence on certain issues,” said Stournaras after meeting Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Saturday. He insisted that the differences that needed to be bridged were fiscal rather than political.
“There are no political solutions to be sought; there are simply negotiations with the troika,” he said, adding that the visiting officials would also be at Monday’s Eurogroup meeting to brief finance ministers on the talks in Athens.
More from the London Telegraph:
Greece will not reach a deal with European debt inspectors on fresh austerity measures before a vital meeting on Monday, according to the country’s finance minister, even as IMF managing director Christine Lagarde described talks as “very productive”.
Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said on Saturday that talks with Greece on its debt crisis had been positive.
Speaking at a news conference after meeting with senior officials from the six oil exporters in the Gulf Cooperation Council, she said that the discussion of the fiscal chapter of Greece’s programme has been “very good and very productive”.
More confirmation of the delay comes from Reuters:
The EU summit on October 18-19 will not take any decisions on Greece because the preparatory work on Greek reforms and the country’s macroeconomic situation will not be ready by then, a senior euro zone official said on Friday.
“I am extremely confident there will be no such decisions at the summit,” said the official, with knowledge of preparations for meetings of euro zone finance ministers.
The Iron Chancellor pays a visit
One of the least-loved people in Greece is paying a visit, and to keep order in the oft-disorderly Athens, protests are banned — assuring the German leader won’t encounter the rowdy receptions greeting the arriving Men in Black in recent days.
And to make sure order attends the Germanic presence, thousands of cops will flood the street, at least half of whom voted for Golden Dawn, an outfit with a certain aura of Germany past.
From Dina Kyriakidou and Noah Barkin of Reuters:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will tell Greeks she wants to keep their country in the euro when she visits Athens this week, but she faces a hostile reception from a people worn down by years of austerity and recession.
Many Greeks blame Merkel, who has publicly chastised them for much of the past three years, for the nation’s plight. Opponents, some of whom have caricatured her as a bullying Nazi, have promised protests on Tuesday during her first visit to Greece since the euro zone crisis erupted there in 2009.
“She does not come to support Greece, which her policies have brought to the brink. She comes to save the corrupt, disgraced and servile political system,” said Alexis Tsipras, who leads the opposition Syriza alliance. “We will give her the welcome she deserves.”
About 6,000 policemen will be deployed in the capital for her 6-hour visit, turning the city center into a no-go zone for protest marches planned by labor unions and opposition parties.
More from Rainer Buergin and James Hertling of Bloomberg:
“The meeting could mark the turning point to the Greek crisis,” said Constantinos Zouzoulas, an analyst at Axia Ventures Group, a brokerage in Athens. “This is a very significant development for Greece ahead of crucial decisions by the euro zone for the country.”
Merkel’s demand for budget cuts in return for bailout packages has stoked public resentment, with the German chancellor depicted in some Greek media and on protestors’ placards wearing jackboots and an SS uniform because of her insistence on austerity. While Samaras welcomed Merkel’s visit as a “very positive development,” union walkouts and public protests were immediately called to coincide with the event.
More on the unions’ response from Greek Reporter:
Greek labor unions called a work stoppage and a rally in Athens on Tuesday to protest against the planned visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Athens, a union official said on Friday.
The rally, called by the country’s two main labor unions for the public and private sector GSEE and ADEDY, will take place outside the Greek parliament at 1 p.m., ADEDY official Ilias Iliopoulos told Reuters.
“This is how we welcome Mrs. Merkel,” he said.
The Independent Greeks, a right-wing anti-bailout party, has also called for a separate rally on Tuesday outside the German embassy in Athens.
Given the announced intention of preventing all demonstrations and that massive police presence, things may get interesting.
Samaras pleads with the Germans
The prime minister took his case to the belly of the beast, making a plea for mercy to an audience in a very austerian-minded country.
From Agence France-Presse:
Greece cannot ask its people to accept a further austerity squeeze, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Friday, warning that his debt-wracked country would run out of funds next month.
In a wide-ranging interview in German daily Handelsblatt, Samaras also reiterated that Greece needed more time to implement deep cuts demanded by international creditors rather than a fresh injection of cash.
Asked how long Greece could survive without the next slice of aid, Samaras said: “Until the end of November. Then the coffers are empty.” “I cannot and I will not deny it: Greek democracy is facing perhaps its biggest ever challenge,” stated the prime minister.
“The cuts we have already made have cut to the bone. We are at the limits of what we can ask of our people,” he said.
“People are at the point where they are saying ‘we are prepared to make sacrifices but we want to see light at the end of the tunnel’. Otherwise everything is in vain,” added Samaras.
Referring to the collapse of the government that brought Adolf Hitler to power, he said: “It’s about the cohesion of our society, which is being threatened by rising unemployment, like at the end of the Weimar Republic in Germany.” “What we need is more time for budgetary consolidation — but not necessarily more aid,” he pledged, amid concerns in Germany that Europe will eventually have to stump up more to keep Greece afloat.
IMF hints a longer delay on cuts approval
Yet another hint that the decision on the cuts may not come under after the U.S. elections.
From Agence France-Presse:
The International Monetary Fund said Thursday that there was no fixed time for concluding crunch finance talks in Athens between the Greek government and the IMF, European Union and European Central Bank.
“Those discussions are ongoing… We have no timeline yet in terms of when that mission will end,” said IMF spokesman Gerry Rice.
“Broadly we continue to work with the Greek government to find sustainable feasible measures to bring fiscal policy back on track and underpin a fully credible program,” he said.
On Wednesday, Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said he expects to conclude talks with the aid troika on adjusting Greece’s bailout program and releasing new funds ahead of Monday’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg.
But Rice gave no hint as to whether a deal would be reached by that time.
Economic contraction estimates stall talks
Part of the reason the two dies can’t agree is a fundamental disagreement on how badly the Greek economy will fare next year.
The Troika’s estimate is grimmer than the Greek government’s, and that means cuts will have to be greater to keep the cash flowing to investors.
The irony, of course, is that the Troika-demanded cuts are certain to make the economy suffer more deeply.
Greece’s hopes of striking a deal with its lenders before euro zone finance ministers meet next week dimmed on Wednesday, when officials admitted the two sides disagree on how much the economy will contract in 2013 – a key figure in their calculations.
According to Reuters, after weeks of talks, Athens is still struggling to clinch an agreement on nearly 12 billion euros of cuts with the “troika” of European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary lenders, who fear some of the proposed savings are not feasible.
“There is still a large gap. We are trying to reach a compromise to seal a deal,” Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told reporters after meeting the troika heads.
A senior government official said that there was still ground to cover on about 2.5 billion euros worth of measures to be applied next year.
IMF throws a spanner into the works
The International Monetary Fund, the non-European leg of the Troika, is raising a red flag as the crisis intensifies.
And the announcement coming from the Washington-based fund adds one more note of uncertainty to the mix.
From Sandrine Rastello of Bloomberg:
The International Monetary Fund won’t disburse its share of the Greek bailout if the country’s debt is not deemed sustainable or if other creditors don’t pledge to fill a financing gap in the aid package, a fund spokesman said.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde last week warned that the level of Greek debt would have “to be addressed,” pushing European policy makers to consider writing off some of the aid to the country. While the fund is sticking to a target of 120 percent of gross domestic product by 2020, the Greek government forecast this week that public debt will climb to 179.3 percent of GDP in 2013.
For the loan “to move forward, we need two key elements — we need the debt sustainability and the financing assurances and both of those things need to be in place,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters in Washington today. “As to how these requirements will be fulfilled in the context of the current review, we still have to discuss this with the Greek authorities and the European partners.”
While Lagarde also said last week Greece faces a financing shortfall that won’t be solved with just the budget measures currently being discussed, the IMF has indicated that any additional aid will have to come from Europe.
Rice said today he couldn’t give a date for the end of talks taking place in Athens, even though “urgency is of the essence.” His comments on the IMF’s requirements for disbursement suggest that an agreement on measures to reduce the deficit won’t suffice to unblock the funds as part of the 130 billion-euro package ($169 billion) .
No more time for Greece, says eurobankster
Giving the country any more time to pay off its debts would violate the scared rules of the money game, he says.
European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said Greece would not get extra time to pay off its debt, calling an extension “tantamount to monetary financing”.
The European Central Bank is ready to launch its bond-buying progamme if it is requested by countries who agree to set conditions, ECB President Mario Draghi said Thursday as Brussels and Madrid were negotiating a possible bailout for Spain.
Greece invoked again as the bad example
Our nagging suspicion that Greece is intentionally being singled out for full blown austerian neoliberalism was reinforced Thursday by the German finance minister.
With the exception of Greece, all countries in the euro zone hit by the debt crisis have made good headway on economic reforms, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Thursday.
“All of the countries which are in a program, except Greece, which is in a particularly difficult situation… have made remarkable progress,” Schaeuble told a conference.
“Even though they are not in a program, what Spain and Italy have achieved is grand,” he added.
Schaeuble also said countries that make necessary efforts on reforms can be given “more time” to repair their public finances. Greece has asked its international donors for more time to implement painful reforms but Germany and other euro zone creditor nations have responded coolly to the request.
Wall Street Journal: Europols love Samaras
Yep, he’s a caterpillar transforming himself into a butterfly, a former foe of austerity who’s becoming a thoroughly zealous practitioner of the austerian arts.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is undergoing one of the biggest metamorphoses of his long political life: from shrill opponent of Europe’s rescue plan for Greece, to the man the Continent’s leaders now see as the best bet for keeping the country in the euro zone, according to Wall Street Journal.
Since taking office in June, Mr. Samaras, a 61-year-old scion of one of Greece?s most prominent families, has struggled to push ahead with €13.5 billion ($17.4 billion) in austerity measures to satisfy international lenders despite opposition on the streets of Athens and in Parliament.
Once shunned by Europe’s leaders, Greek Premier Antonis Samaras has been winning kudos since backing the nation’s bailout.
When Mr. Samaras became prime minister in June, Ms. Merkel decided to put past disputes aside and give him a chance to show that he could turn Greece around, “like a new CEO at a company,” one senior German official said recently.
Grexit would destroy the country, Samaras says
And, he says, it could take the euro with it.
His solution: Deregulation and rebranding. Yes, really.
A Greek exit from the euro would cut Greek living standards by between 60 and 70 percent, and would be “disastrous” for the rest of the single currency area because “no one knows where it would end,” Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said.
Speaking at an International Herald Tribune conference in Paris, Samaras said the “European debt crisis is a competitiveness crisis” and that his government is “changing Greece at home and rebranding it abroad.” He said his government is cutting red tape, reducing government spending, eliminating barriers to entry, and showing zero tolerance for tax evasion.
We’re bemused at his faith in rebranding, as though the adoption of a new logo and hiring a new ad agency constitutes a meaningful response to the infliction of human suffering in the name of private profit.
Banking lobby calls for a cut in interest
The folks making the call represented investment money during the negotiations for the last bondholder haircut.
And the cuts recommended are substantial, the arguments reasonable.
The investors, it seems, aren’t eager for the additional haircut that would be a virtual certainty should the Greek economy totally bog down under the weight of accumulated interest.
From Agence France-Presse:
The global banking lobby IIF on Thursday called for the European Union to slash the interest rate on its rescue loans to Greece to give it room to get its economy back to growth.
Saying that further harsh austerity is only making things worse across Europe, the Institute for International Finance said Greece and all of Europe’s most troubled economies need relief from tough short-term fiscal targets to get back to growth.
“It is urgent to complete the ongoing review of Greece’s program with an extension of the time schedule of budget deficit targets,” the IIF said as Athens huddled in talks with its key lenders the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.
“The latter can and could be accommodated without additional new financing by lowering interest charges on official credits in line with markedly reduced funding costs.”
IIF chief Charles Dallara said the EU could cut the rates on loans to Athens to one percent from around four percent, without losing any money given current ultra-low interest rates.
Hedge fund oligarch bets on Greek bonds
He’s betting increased uncertainty is sure to prompt a fund loosening, making the stressed bonds a good bet.
Hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb built a major position in distressed Greek government bonds in September, according to a monthly report and quarterly letter he sent to his investors.
Loeb’s nearly $5 billion Third Point Offshore Fund gained 3.4 percent last month, helped by a bullish position in Greek debt, said the Sept. 30 monthly note, which was reviewed by Reuters.
The hedge fund increased its exposure to European credit through July and August, including Greek bonds, in anticipation of “a strong reaction from the ECB” to markets in turmoil from worsening debt troubles in Spain and a European Union summit that failed to calm anxious investors, Loeb said in a more detailed quarterly letter released on Wednesday and obtained by Reuters.
In other words, he’s betting that the crisis will loosen the purse strings because the alternative’s far worse.
Politician under investigation kills himself
A “socialist” and former deputy minister under investigation for tax fraud decided to end it all.
From Athens News:
Leonidas Tzanis, a former Pasok deputy interior minister, took his own life at his home in Volos, Mega TV has announced.
Tzanis was found hanged by his wife, a Mega reporter said.
The former Pasok MP was named last week as one of the 36 politicians under investigation by the Financial and Economic Crime Unit (SDOE) for financial irregularities and suspicious acquisition of wealth.
According to the list, the SDOE in Thessaloniki launched an investigation into his accounts on 31 May 2012.
A total of 60 politicians are currently under investigation for tax fraud and other sundry offenses.
More from Keep Talking Greece:
According to Proto Thema, SDOE has been investigating Tzanis since end of May 2012 and the investigation was about to open of his bank accounts and take under the magnifying glass his income declarations.
Leonidas Tzanis was elected PASOK MP in 1993, 1996, 2000 and 2004.
He served as chairman of the parliamentary committee assigned to investigate the case of Floisvos Casino.
February 1999-April 2000 and May 2000-October 2001 he was deputy Minister of Interior and Public Administration in Simitis government. 1990-1992 he was deputy major of Nea ionia in Volos and chairman of the Sports Institution.
He held also several posts within PASOK.
Universities to close; too many, says minister
Though it’s billed as consolidation and a suitable austerity move, it means fewer Greeks will have access to university educations in their own communities.
From A. Papapostolou of Greek Reporter:
Education Minister Costas Arvanitopoulos has underlined that “upgrading public universities is a top priority,” while at the same time saying that Greece has too many universities, 40 of them for a country of 11 million people, and that the country needs to consolidate or merge the schools to reduce costs.
Arvanitopoulos said the upgrading of state universities will promoted through a recently amended law that will improve the institutions’ administration although it is being fiercely fought by professors and students alike who don’t want changes.
He said that it is the result of decisions that met neither academic nor developmental criteria, and clarified that the problem can be solved through mergers. Referring to the prospect of private universities finally being recognized by the Greek state, he said their operation depends on a revision of Article 16 of the Constitution that has constantly been set aside by successive governments, although Greece is in violation of European Union law by not accepting degrees from private schools for graduates to be employed by the state.
Drug rehab program nears collapse
Once again, it’s those on the margins who bear austerity’s harshest costs.
The Organization Against Drugs (OKANA) says it can no longer meet the cost of its utility bills, methadone for its programs and its wage bill.
OKANA head Meni Malliori wrote to Health Minister Andreas Lykourentzos on Thursday to inform him that the state funding the organization is due to receive this year is not enough to cover its operational costs.
OKANA is in line to receive 20 million euros for its regular expenses and another 20 million euros for the creation and operation of new methadone centers.
Malliori said that OKANA has so far only received 10 million euros for the new centers.
Greece seeks bidders for its regional airports
More than half of the country’s regional airports are going up for bids.
While the facilities will remain under state ownership, companies are being invited to bid on their operation and reap the attendant profits, one more austerity measure designed to cut the public payroll and turn the commons into a private sector revenue generating machine.
Private investors will be invited to submit expressions of interest for the operation of Greek regional airports by the end of the year, as sources from the ministries of Development and Infrastructure and the state privatization fund (TAIPED) said on Thursday. According to the sources, as daily Kathimerini reports, the tender for the concession of between 13 and 22 airports will be announced before the end of 2012.
The government intends to concede to private investors the airports that enjoy traffic in excess of 250,000 passengers per year, thus constituting an investment opportunity, while it is possible that there may also be some interest in terminals with traffic between 75,000 and 250,000 passengers per year. For this reason, the number of airports for concession will depend on the level of investor interest expressed. Airports will remain state property, Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis clarified, and the government will retain a monitoring role.
Greece welcomes new ‘too big to fail’ bank
How do you solve the problem of a bankrupt bank?
Well, as has become the rule these days, apparently you do it by creating another, even bigger bank.
You know, the kind that’s automatically entitled to a bailout when the crunch inevitably comes.
From A. Papapostolou of Greek Reporter:
Greek stock market authorities have temporarily suspended trading in the country’s two biggest banks following press reports that they are in merger talks.
Shortly before the decision, shares in top lender National Bank of Greece and its main domestic rival Eurobank were up 4.5 and 5.5 percent, respectively.
The banks contributed to strong gains being posted by Greek stocks. The bank sector was up nearly 10 percent, while the benchmark general share index rose 5 percent by late afternoon trading.
Greek banks are under pressure to merge after suffering severe damage from the three-year-old financial crisis and a massive writedown in the country’s debt earlier this year.
More from ANSAmed:
The governing boards of the two banks, that have a dominant presence in Southeastern Europe, too, are reported to be holding extraordinary meetings on Friday afternoon, with NET saying that a deal was imminent, citing unnamed sources.
After the decision by French group Credit Agricole to pick Alpha Bank as its preferred buyer for the sale of Greek subsidiary Emporiki Bank, announced on Monday, the other two suitors, National and Eurobank apparently decided to forge an alliance of some sort that is now set to lead not just to a merger between them but could also include the industry’s other prized asset, Hellenic Postbank (TT).
Strange, isn’t it, that a problem created in large part by the abolition of banking rules that detached banks from communities is “solved” by making them even more detached?
And stranger still that the proposed solution it one that creates the very kind of institution that brought the global economy to its knees.
Greece to tighten hate crime laws
All of those attacks on immigrants by the thugs of Golden Dawn have finally resulted in some action from the coalition government.
One would like to presume their motives were altruistic, but the neo-Nazi party’s rise to third place in public opinion polls, eclipsing two of the three coalition parties, may play an even stronger role — especially given that some of Golden Dawn’s parliamentary delegates have participated in the violence and would therefore be subject to prosecution for future violations.
From Andy Dabilis of Greek Reporter:
Reeling from an onslaught of assaults against immigrants – including by extremist group MPs – Athens is proposing to toughen penalties against hate crimes to include a minimum three-year prison sentence.
Greece’s current guidelines do not have specific penalties for racial motives, which often result in suspended sentences or reduced jail time. But with human rights groups claiming the government has done too little to stop the surge in beatings, Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis said he will put judicial reforms before Parliament.
The change was prompted by a rash of immigrant beatings, and after lawmakers of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party were seen on tape smashing stalls operated by immigrants at a street fair, members of parliament began to consider revoking their immunity.
A Pasok pol feels the hate
We suspect the new law will have one firm supporter.
PASOK MP Yiannis Maniatis, who was involved in an angry exchange of words with Golden Dawn deputies in Parliament on Friday, said that he has since received threatening phone calls.
Maniatis objected to the spokesman of the neo-Nazi party, Ilias Kasidiaris, hurling insults in Parliament, including an attack on former Prime Minister George Papandreou in which he labeled him “only 25 percent Greek.”
Maniatis’s response led to a fresh attack from Golden Dawn lawmakers that was followed by their decision to walk out of the chamber. It is suspected that the neofascists staged the walkout, as the incident was posted on the Internet within minutes.
Maniatis told Vima FM on Saturday that he received a call from an unidentified number during his life was threatened. The MP said he informed the Public Order Ministry about the incident.