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Greek minister attacked by anarchists while dining in Athens

April 29, 2015

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s outspoken finance minister said Wednesday he and his wife came under attack by anarchists while dining in a central Athens restaurant.

Yanis Varoufakis said the couple were finishing dinner with a friend in the Exarhia district, a neighborhood popular with extreme leftists and anarchists, Tuesday night when a group barged into the restaurant.

The group, who had their faces covered, demanded the minister leave the area and threw glass objects at the couple, Varoufakis said, without either of them being hurt.

He said that when some of the group moved in a threatening manner against him, his wife embraced him so that the potential attackers could not get at him without hitting her first.

“This was not an organised incident,” Varoufakis said in a statement.

He said he eventually spoke with the group outside the restaurant and tempers were calmed.

Similar attacks against government ministers were frequent in the first years of Greece’s bailout, which began in 2010. Those were believed to have been carried out by groups affiliated to the left wing, though generally not by anarchists, and sometimes involved attempted physical violence.

With his outspoken — some would say brash — style and prolific appearance in media interviews, Varoufakis became Greece’s best-known minister of the new radical left Syriza party-led coalition government after Jan. 25 elections.

But he has come under severe criticism from the country’s European creditors, with whom negotiations on unlocking the final 7.2 billion-euro installment of Greece’s bailout have foundered for months.

On Monday, Greece announced a reshuffle of its negotiating team, widely seen as a sidelining of Varoufakis.

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