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Politics

Brawl Breaks Out in Greek: Parliament: MP Αttacks Fellow MP, Released on Bail with Conditions

ATHENS – A extraordinary incident reminiscent of scenes from previous decades occurred on April 24 inside the Greek Parliament. A fist fight between an MP of the far right Greek Solution party, Vasilis Grammenos, and the extreme right independent MP and former member of the far-right Spartiates party Konstantinos Floros has shaken the institution and the nation after the latter assaulted the former. Grammenos was then taken for first aid to the Parliament’s infirmary.

The relevant prosecutor has charged the independent MP with a criminal offense for assaulting a member of Parliament, giving him until April 25 to justify himself, and on that day he was conditionally released on bail after making an apology for the unprecedented attack on Grammenos in the Parliament.

The examining magistrate and prosecutor imposed a condition on the independent MP not to approach Grammenos within a distance of less than 50 meters (264 feet).

According to Article 157 of the Penal Code of Greece, Floros’ flagrant act carries a penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment according to, and the accused expressed remorse for the incident that brought him before Justice, denying,however, that he punched Grammenos.

Earlier on April 25, the independent MP Dionysis Valtogiannis appeared in court to testify,  as he was present during the plenary session of the Parliament. According to the witness, it was Grammenos who spoke in a derogatory manner to the accused.

The context for the incident was the discussion in a plenary session of the Parliament regarding the lifting of the immunity of the president of the Greek Solution party, Kyriakos Velopoulos, whose case involves slander through a fake social media account posted by a retired Navy officer. Floros, whose father had filed the lawsuit against Velopoulos, had requested to speak in the Plenary, but the rules did not allow it.

According to available information, there was later a verbal confrontation in the Plenary between Floros and Grammenos, and when the two men went outside the chamber, the former allegedly attacked the latter, grabbing him by the throat, punching him, and throwing him to the ground.

Upon leaving the courtroom on April 25, Floros stated: “At that moment, as a son, driven by emotion, I thought I did the right thing. However, because I bear a very important role, that of a Greek MP, I acted in a completely wrong way; such behavior is not appropriate in Parliament. It does not set an example for a Greek MP.”

Floros’ defense counsel emphasized, “the criminal justice system knows how to evaluate real incidents and get to the essence of the matter. With a humane approach, the examining magistrate and the prosecutor pointed out that such behavior is not acceptable from a Greek MP. He [Floros] has understood from the very beginning that such behavior is not appropriate for an MP.”

The insults that reportedly preceded the physical assault were mentioned by both parties in their statements to the media.

Floros, speaking to the ANT1 network, stressed that he reacted when Grammenos insulted his mother, but he categorically denied punching him. Floros’ mother told the Alpha network that among other things, “I do not approve of such attitudes, neither of Konstantinos nor of Grammenos, whom I do not know personally, nor do I want to. I just want to congratulate Mr. Grammenos for managing to provoke my son. That is the only way he could provoke my son. He may rightfully hold the title ‘mastermind’. I wish him a speedy recovery.”

On the other hand, in a message to ANT1, regarding the incident, Grammenos said: “I fully respect the sacred role of the Greek mother. I come from a large family. I grew up with my mother. I am the father of three underage children. I did not insult and I did not attempt to address that specific individual. I am sorry and saddened that my colleagues in the media did not verify the false statements made by him to justify his abominable act. I fully trust the Greek Justice system and patiently await the decision of the investigating magistrate.”

UNIVERSAL CONDEMNATION

There was unanimous condemnation of the incident by the parties in Parliament:

“We unite our voice with the President of the Parliament against this vile incident” said Th. Pleuris, the parliamentary representative of New Democracy.

“Democratic citizens must be vigilant and isolate extreme right-wing, fascist views, positions, and behaviors,” said the parliamentary representative of SYRIZA D. Kalamatianos, who agreed with the imposition of disciplinary measures against Floros.

“We unequivocally condemn not only physical violence but also those who incite physical violence against MPs,” said the parliamentary representative of PASOK D. Mantzos.

Thanasis Pafilis, the parliamentary representative of the Communist Party of Greece, declared that “fascism and the extreme right are not dealt with by legal maneuvers, but the people must crush them and send them to the dustbin of history.”

The president of the Parliamentary Group of Spartiates, V. Stigas, condemned the incident, calling on the President of the Parliament to impose the harshest possible penalty on the specific MP “so that such vile incidents do not happen here again.”

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