Video: ‘Post’ journalist attacked by mob in Greece

Gil Shefler released from hospital in good condition after treatment for head, chest wounds; local police: Culprits unknown.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
June 7, 2012 10:34
2 minute read.
Gil Shefler after being attacked by Greek mob

Gil Shefler after being attacked by Greek mob 370. (photo credit: Gil Shefler)

 
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Jerusalem Post reporter Gil Shefler was assaulted in Athens on Tuesday while trying to film a mob attack outside the National Archeological Museum, one of the city’s main tourist attractions.

The incident began around 8 p.m. when a group of about 20 masked men wielding batons started beating refugees, migrants and homeless people in the middle of the street.

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Greeks walked by calmly as dozens of foreigners fled in every direction. The assault, which took place in the middle of the city in broad daylight with police nowhere in sight, lasted some 15 minutes. Shefler was chased down a street by several gang members after he took out his camera.

He was rushed to the hospital where he received treatment for head and chest wounds. He was later released and is in good condition.

Police said they were not sure who was behind the attack. Sources said the culprits were either anarchists associated with Syriza, a farleft party, who may have been cracking down on alleged drug dealers and junkies, many of who are migrants and refugees; or members of Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi group, whose members are known to occasionally beat and stab foreigners.

Shefler, who was on assignment in Greece for a story about Golden Dawn, said he was lucky that his wounds were not more severe.

“The sad thing about the precarious situation here right now is that I cannot say with certainty whether my assailants were from the far Right or far Left, but it doesn’t matter,” he said.

“In downtown Athens both often take the law into their own hands. When I saw the viciousness of the attack on people outside the museum using batons and sticks, I did my journalistic duty and snapped photos, and for that offense I was brutally beaten.”

The financial crisis has exacerbated already tense ties between citizens and migrants, leftists and rightists in Greece. Over the past several years neighborhoods such as Exarcheia have occasionally erupted in violence with clashes between various political factions, police and ethnic groups.

“This country is going through a hard time and its citizens have my empathy, but authorities need to know incidents like these do not inspire confidence,” Shefler said. “Clearly, there is a problem when mob violence can take place in broad daylight in the center of the capital. More must be done to protect Greek citizens, migrants and refugees, tourists and journalists, from the wave of violence on the streets.”

The Athens Municipality did not respond to several press inquiries on Wednesday. A press officer said there was no response because its email service had stopped working.

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