Teenager arrested for attacking Varoufakis, more arrests expected

Yanis Varoufakis

A 17-year-old teenager was arrested for accusations of attacking MeRA25 party leader Yanis Varoufakis.

According to police sources, a total of three people have been identified.

For his part, Citizen Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos commented on Saturday on the identification of the people who attacked the opposition party leader.

He stated that the truth is that the attackers are anarchists, "even if it is not convenient for some".

Specifically, Theodorikakos, in a post on Twitter, wrote:

"A group of anarchists identified by the Greek police, those responsible for the attack on the leader of MeRA25 Yanis Varoufakis. This is the truth, even if it is not convenient for some...".

Opposition party MeRA25 leader Yanis Varoufakis claimed that "hired thugs" are responsible for the assault on him in the Athens neighbourhood of Exerchaia late on Friday.

"They were not anarchists, leftists, communists or members of any movement," Varoufakis said in a tweet.

He explained that the people who attacked him in a restaurant looked like hired thugs who clumsily invoked the lie that he had voted in favour of the memoranda.

"We shall not let the underworld divide us," he underlined.

Varoufakis expressed his thanks for the treatment he received in hospital.

Varoufakis, the former Finance Minister of the SYRIZA government and an economist, is now the leader of his own political party - MERA 25 or DIEM 25.

At around 21:30 local time, Varoufakis was in the company of members of his party “from all over Europe, when a small group of thugs stormed the place,” DIEM 25 describes in an announcement issued few hours after the incident.

The assailants reportedly told Varoufakis “you’re not welcome here, because you signed memoranda,” as the attack took place.

“Varoufakis stood up to talk to them but they immediately responded with violence, savagely beating him while they also filmed the scene,” DIEM 25’s announcement adds, in confirmation of earlier reports on Greek media.

The injured politician was transported to Evangelismos hospital, where he was treated for a broken nose, besides other bruises and abrasions from the assault.

Government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou had reacted to the news of the assault within minutes.

“We roundly and categorically condemn the attack on MERA 25 (party) secretary Mr. Y. Varoufakis. Thuggery has no place in our democracy and violence in any form is not tolerated,” Oikonomou posted to Twitter on Friday.

“Greek police will do whatever is necessary so that perpetrators face justice,” he added in another tweet.

Varoufakis’s office as Greece Finance Minister in 2015

Varoufakis was a protagonist of the 2015 dramatic negotiations for the Greek debt.

He was appointed Finance Minister in January of that year, following the election of the SYRIZA government, at a time when public resentment for the austerity mesures imposed by the country’s creditors had reached its peak.

In a most crucial moment for the Greek debt crisis, he led the negotiations to extent the loan agreement.

Although at first the economist managed to win Greece flexibility on the 2015 primary surplus target, he failed to reach a longer extension agreement on new terms and was instead presented with an ultimatum in the June Eurogroup.

The stalemate led to the introduction of capital controls in Greece, and the subsequent bailout referendum whose result rejected the bailout terms by 61,5%.

Nonetheless, he resigned as Finance Minister, being replaced by Euclid Tsakalotos, and the Greek government passed the third bailout package in August.

He did not stand for re-election in the September snap election, but instead founded the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM 25) in early 2016 and its “electoral wing” in Greece, MERA 25, in 2018.

In the 2019 national elections, MERA 25 secured nine parliamentary seats, with Varoufakis himself returning to the Parliament. However, three MERA 25 MPs had quit the party by the end of 2022.

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