Greek finance minister attacked by ‘anarchists’
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis says he and his wife came under an attack by a group of anarchists while dining at a restaurant in the capital, Athens.
Varoufakis said in a statement on Wednesday that he and his spouse, Danae Stratou, were assaulted the night before during a dinner outing in Athens’ Exarchia area, a district popular with anarchists.
According to the minister, the group of some 30 masked youths came into the restaurant, demanded that he leave the area and threw glass objects at them.
Varoufakis said that some of the group members moved in a threatening manner against him; however, his wife interfered so that the attackers could not hit him.
No one was injured in the incident.
“Their purpose, I think, was not physically attack us, because if they wanted to injure me, they had every chance as they outnumbered us. I think they wanted to force me to escape,” said Varoufakis.
Then “they retreated fast continuing their curses and threats, got out of the courtyard and waited for us outside the restaurant,” Varoufakis added.
The minister spoke with the group outside the restaurant and tempers were reportedly calmed.
Varoufakis stated that the group was more interested in embarrassing him than causing any harm, although the statement did not go into details on what prompted the incident.
Anarchists in Athens’ Exarchia area reportedly often cause disorder, clashing with authorities and rallying against the country’s establishment.
Outspoken Varoufakis has garnered support in Greece for voicing opposition against austerity policies; however, he has also received criticism for his brash style.
Varoufakis has long been a strong critic of Greece’s bailout program and has never ceased to criticize Europe’s austerity policy with regard to the world’s financial crisis.
Greece nearly went bankrupt in 2010. It survived, however, on international rescue packages. Athens has received EUR 240 billion (USD 330 billion) in international loans in return for the enforcement of austerity measures.