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Israeli journalist beaten by Greek mob for photographing attack / Gil Shefler brutally assaulted in the street in central Athens (NEW YORK DAILY NEWS) BY MEGHAN NEAL 06/09/12)Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/israeli-journalist-beaten-greek-mob-photographing-attack-article-1.1092434 NEW YORK DAILY NEWS NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
A Jerusalem Post reporter — on assignment to cover the rise of a Greek neo-Nazi-like political party — was viciously beaten in Athens Tuesday for filming a mob that was attacking immigrants, refugees and homeless people in the street.

About 20 men wearing masks and helmets were beating people with batons outside the National Archaeological Museum, a popular tourist spot in the capital city, The Jewish Journal reported.

The assaulted reporter, Gil Shefler, saw the mob attack and instinctively grabbed his camera to start shooting, he told the Athens News.

“I snapped a photo, and one guy came up and told me ‘Listen, don’t take a photo. They’ll beat the hell out of you,’ ” Shefler told the paper. “Seconds later, I was being chased by five of these people. They caught me and beat me with sticks for around five minutes, I reckon.”

Shefler was in Greece on assignment covering Golden Dawn, the right- wing extremist political party that’s been compared to neo-Nazis. The group has tried to distance itself from the Nazi label, but employs a Greek symbol that resembles a swastika as its logo. Their offices are also stocked with literature promoting Aryan supremacy, Reuters reports.

The virulently anti-immigrant group enjoyed surprising success in a May poll as austerity-angered Greeks responded to the organization’s rhetoric, which blames immigrants for the country’s economic troubles.

Greek Ambassador Kyriakos Loukakis said the Greek government “unreservedly condemns the attack.” He called The Jerusalem Post to apologize.

Shefler was hospitalized for head and chest wounds and is now in good condition.

“Back in Israel, bandages are off, wounds are healing, sun is shining,” he tweeted Friday.

Shefler told newspapers he was stunned by people’s unresponsiveness during the incident. Greek citizens walked calmly by as tourists ran from the violent scene. Police showed up some 20 minutes after the attack. An ambulance came but didn’t treat him because the mob was still milling around, he said.

“Greek nationals were walking calmly by, doing their best to ignore what was going on. I was beaten in the middle of the street for a few minutes with police nowhere in sight,” he told The Huffington Post.

Local police told The Jerusalem Post they’re unsure who the attackers were, but speculated they could be members of the Golden Dawn group or anarchists associated with Syriza, a far-left party in Greece.

“This country is going through a hard time, and its citizens have my empathy,” Shefler told the Athens News. “But authorities need to know incidents like these do not inspire confidence. Clearly there is a problem when mob violence can take place in broad daylight in the center of the capital.” With News Wire Services (© Copyright 2012 NYDailyNews.com. 06/09/12)

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