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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 29, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 26
Pride parade attacked in Thessaloniki, Greece
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Pride parade attacked in Thessaloniki, Greece

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Pride parade in Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city, was attacked on June 24.

According to Associated Press reports, about 50 people threw eggs and plastic bottles of water at some 400 Pride paraders. Police then moved in to cordon off the attackers, but made no arrests.

No injuries were reported.

The June 24 parade was the climax of a three-day Pride festival, the first in Thessaloniki's history. The event included a film festival and a health fair as well as the parade.

Pride events in Athens went on as scheduled, with no disruptions. Athens has celebrated Pride every year since 2005.

The Thessaloniki attackers were not immediately identified, but the neo-Nazi Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) organization has launched similar attacks against socialist rallies and immigrant-rights groups.

The Greek Orthodox bishop of Thessaloniki, Anthimos, had condemned the Pride celebration as 'an unacceptable event on our city's ethics.'

'We feel puzzled and saddened over this parade and demonstrate against it since we are aware of the fact that our fellow citizens, both men and women and mostly young people, have already announced they will protest against this immoral parade which is about to take place in our city. We react especially because they will pass in front of our two big churches, that of St. Grigorios Palamas and St. Catherine,' Anthimos told Kathimerini newspaper.

Anthimos is notorious in Greece as an outspoken right-winger who has taken on Gay rights, immigrants, the EU, and the previous Socialist government.

'Gay people warp human nature with unspeakable, unnatural acts,' the bishop once told a church service in Thessaloniki.

Anthimos has also condemned any sort of sexual relationship outside of heterosexual marriage.

'The Church of Greece's Holy Synod responded by labeling any form of union other than that of a married couple as prostitution,' he said.

The head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Ieronymos II, who won his position over Anthimos' opposition, has taken a more moderate stand on same-sex marriage.

In 2008, the Socialist mayor of Tilos married one Gay and one Lesbian couple, under a civil marriage law that failed to specify the gender of couples allowed to marry.

Some Orthodox bishops, including Anthimos, were outraged, but Ieronymos said, 'They were not church members and they were not married in church, so the church has nothing to say about it.

'You have to change with the times,' the archbishop added.

Greek courts subsequently invalidated the marriages, but the couples appealed to the Greek Supreme Court. The case is still pending.

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