Greek authorities say 14 people were due to appear in court Thursday following their arrests during extensive clashes between members of far-right groups and participants in a counter-demonstration.
Supporters of the extreme right group Golden Dawn defied a blanket police ban on demonstrations in greater Athens late Wednesday and clashed with protesters from a rival rally led by left-wing organizations that also defied the order.
The violence around the center of Athens spilled into a train and onto a platform of the city’s subway system.
Police initially detained 60 people but later released most of them. The 14 who were arrested face charges of committing public disturbance offenses.
A minister for public order said Thursday that an investigation had been launched into allegations of police brutality after an amateur video posted online appeared to show members of a motorcycle police unit repeatedly punching a detained protester on the ground.
The far-right protest was organized to mark a decade since the fatal shooting of two members of Golden Dawn, a group with Neo-Nazi origins linked to multiple street attacks that mostly targeted migrants.
Golden Dawn once was a political party that was represented in Greece’s parliament between 2012 and 2019. A court declared it a criminal organization in 2020. The group’s leader was jailed for 13 years, along with other top members.
On Wednesday, police detained 21 Italian nationals at Athens International Airport who allegedly traveled to Greece to attend the far-right rally. They were deported back to Italy, authorities said.
The government denied claims it had relaxed the protest ban.
“There was no tolerance (of the far-right rally). Multiple police operations were carried out,” government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis said.
“The police, correctly, do not ask for political identity of people committing illegal acts. They do their job and arrest them,” Marinakis said.