Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Greek authorities to punish the riot police who attacked local journalist Tasos Aslanidis during a protest in the northern city of Thessaloniki on 8 September. He has filed a complaint.
A reporter for Thestival.gr, a local news website, Aslanidis said in a Facebook post that the police attacked him while he was covering a protest outside the city’s annual international fair, where Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was due to give a speech.
“Two policemen grabbed me by the throat and tried to prevent me from breathing,” he said. When he tried to identify his assailants, he was attacked again by another group of riot police. He explains in the Facebook post that, when first attacked, he had been urging the police not to respond to the insults that the protesters were shouting at them.
“We condemn this outrageous behaviour by the police, which obstructed a journalist in the course of his reporting,” said Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s EU-Balkans desk. “The police officers responsible for this attack must be the subject of judicial sanctions.”
On the evening after the attack, Aslanidis went with a lawyer to police headquarters in Thessaloniki and filed a complaint against his police assailants. The police have opened an internal investigation.
Chanting anti-Tsipras slogans, thousands of people took part in the protest against the agreement signed in June between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, under which the latter is to be renamed the Republic of North Macedonia. Thessaloniki is the capital of the Greek province known as Macedonia.
Greece is ranked 74th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.