Protests by members of far-right party Golden Dawn and religious groups against the staging of Terrence McNally’s “Corpus Christi” led to the cancellation of the play’s premiere at the Hytirio Theater, in central Athens, late on Thursday. It was the play’s second scheduled premiere after the first opening night was cancelled due to protests last week.
Among those protesting the play’s staging on Thursday were three Golden Dawn MPs.
Outside the theater protesters scuffled with riot police forces, while a journalist with Lifo magazine, Manolis Vamvounis, was reportedly beaten and verbally abused by protesters, while police forces allegedly stood by.
“The police is next to us. I shout «They’re beating me, aren’t you going to do something?»,» wrote Vamvounis on Twitter. «I move away so I can look on from distance. A well-known Golden Dawn MP follows me. He punches me twice in the face and knocks me to the ground. While on the ground, I lose my glasses. The Golden Dawn MP kicks me. The police are just two steps away but turn their back.”
Two politicians from SYRIZA and two from Democratic Left were at the theater for the premier. One, Nikos Bistis of Democratic Left, said that requests for a public prosecutor to come to the theater were ignored.
Video footage also shows a Golden Dawn MP, Christos Pappas, boarding a riot police bus to release one of four people who had been detained at the protest. The video does not show authorities trying to stop Pappas.
First staged in New York in 1998, “Corpus Christi” dramatizes the story of Jesus and the Apostles.