Yiannis Boutaris wore a ‘Jewish’ badge at his swearing-in ceremony in response to a Golden Dawn lawmaker from the far-right party also being on the city’s municipal council.
DPA – The mayor of the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki wore a yellow Star of David, similar to the ones worn by Jews rounded up in the city during WWII, to his swearing-in ceremony on Thursday in protest against fascism.
Newly re-elected Mayor Yiannis Boutaris, 72, pinned the badge to his jacket in response to the presence of far-right Golden Dawn MP Artemis Mathaiopoulos on the municipal council, the daily Kathimerini reported.
His decision to wear the yellow badge carries significant symbolism as almost 90 per cent of Thessaloniki’s Jews were killed during WWII after being transported to Nazi German concentration camps and murdered. Only 10,000 survivors were left.
The swearing in ceremony took place as left-wing protestors exchanged chants and insults with Golden Dawn supporters in the public gallery at the municipal council.
Mathaiopoulos had gained 7.7 per cent of the vote when he stood for Thessaloniki mayor in May’s local elections, helping Golden Dawn secure two councilors.
Boutaris was elected to a second term in office, winning 58.1 per cent of the vote in the second round of local elections.
Golden Dawn has grown in popularity, becoming the country’s third most popular in the national elections two years ago and in recent European Parliament and local elections, winning 9.4 per cent of the vote.
Golden Dawn, whose emblem resembles the Nazi swastika and whose members express admiration for Adolf Hitler, has capitalized on fears of illegal immigration and anger over a long recession and high unemployment.
View original HAARETZ publication at: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.613665