The spokesman for Greece's ultra-right Golden Dawn party, who went into hiding after he threw water in the face of a deputy from the radical leftist Syriza party during a live television debate and then slapped a middle-aged Communist party deputy three times across the face, has now threatened to sue his victims for provoking the attack.

Ilias Kasidiaris, who stormed off the set after attacking the two women, posted a statement on Facebook on Saturday in which he said he regretted getting involved in a situation that may have damaged his party's image before the June 17 elections but insisted that events had been deliberately staged to provoke the attack.

“The events that took place the morning of last Thursday on ANT1 were directed with the sole purpose of challenging an extreme reaction on my part," Kasidiaris wrote. "I personally regret that without my will I was involved in the case of disorientation of public opinion, whose main purpose was to politically harm Chrysi Avgi. ... We go straight to the prosecution in person in order to sue those physical responsible and moral instigators, responsible for illegal acts committed against me during the last two days."

Even though the leader of Golden Dawn had warned that "the time for fear is come" after his party made gains in last month's inconclusive election, most Greeks found the attack, which was replayed over and over on Friday, both unexpected and shocking.

That evening, thousands of protesters took to the streets to denounce the "dark force" of fascism and suggest that the failure of the police to capture Kasidiaris confirms long-held suspcious that many of them are deliberately protecting Golden Dawn.

"How is it possible that a man can do what he did in a television studio and yet manage to get away and stay on the run after a state prosecutor has ordered his arrest?" activist Petros Constantinou asked. "The police clearly don't want to arrest him."

Rena Doureau, the leftist deputy who had water thrown in her face by Kasidiaris, appeared on a televised chat show on Sunday to denounce Golden Dawn for its militarism. She repeated the claim that many police officers had voted for the neo-Nazis last month, calling it "quite interesting" and "not so safe for the whole society." And she expressed her fear that many Greeks who feel desperate and hopeless may see Golden Dawn as a possible solution to their problems.

This video is from The Guardian, June 10, 2012.