Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has described Thessaloniki mayor Yiannis Boutaris — victim of a shocking mob attack at a Pontic-Greek genocide commemoration last weekend — as a symbol of democracy.
Meeting Boutaris in Greece’s second biggest city on Friday, Tsipras told the mayor: “You symbolize an entire democratic progressive front that stands against the darkness and this is the fight you need to fight.”
The Greek premier said the attack, which took place in front of the northern port’s emblematic White Tower during a ceremony to remember of the WWI genocide of the Pontic Greeks, had been premeditated.
“The Thessaloniki mayor attends this particular commemoration every year and this time there was a plan to attack him,” he said.
“I encouraged Boutaris to step forward and lead a democratic front,” the prime minister added.
Correspondents say Tsipras is considering endorsing the re-election of 75-year-old Boutaris.
Earlier, police announced they had identified three more suspects in connection with the attack. Among them is a 44-year-old police officer who was off duty at the time.