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Former Swedish MP becomes victim of homophobic attack during Greek holiday

Tasso Stafilidis, born to Greek parents, was verbally and physically attacked by three masked men

(Aftonbladet) (Aftonbladet) A Swedish actor and former Left Party MP was recently victim of a homophobic attack in Athens, a Swedish paper reported on Saturday.

The Aftonbladet report was picked up by 10% magazine, which is dedicated to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community in Greece.  The magazine reports on its website that 41-year-old Tasso Stafilidis was attacked on his way home during a recent holiday in Greece. 

Stafilidis, who was accompanied by a friend, initially thought that the three masked men following them were going to rob them.

However, the black-clothed men started yelling homophobic insults at Stafilidis and his friend, calling them “dirty faggots”, and started punching and kicking them on the head and body. They then fled the scene without stealing anything from their victims.

The number of violent attacks on homosexuals has risen in Greece since the debt-crisis started three years ago.

In an article published in the Huffington Post a few months ago, gay-rights activists said that over the last year there is a clear increase in homophobic violence, stressing that the attacks follow the same patterns of Golden Dawn members' attacks against migrants. The neo-nazi party,  which won 18  seats in last June's parliamentary elections, is openly anti-gay.

Born to Greek parents, Stafilidis, who hadn't visited Greece in seven years, said he had already noticed a shift in attitudes before being attacked. “These things go hand-in-hand when a country's prosperity collapses. The crisis makes people susceptible to this kind of rhetoric and sentiment.”

Stafilidis, an activist for gay rights and the first openly gay person to be elected to the Swedish parliament in 1998, is increasingly alarmed by the rise in hate sentiment.

“Racism and homophobia in Europe and in Sweden are much worse than what I encountered,” he said.

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