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Former Swedish MP: I was gay-bashed on vacation in Greece

ATHENS, Greece – Swedish actor and former MP Tasso Stafilidis tells a Swedish newspaper that he and a friend were gay-bashed while on vacation in Greece.

Stafilidis, who is of Greek heritage, said three masked men confronted them on the street, first yelling anti-gay slurs at them and then kicking and punching them.

“Our first thought was that they would rob us,” he told Aftonbladet.

The victims suffered bruises and cuts to the body and the head.

Stafilidis was the first openly gay member of Parliament, and he served from 1998 to 2006. The 41-year-old is now out of politics and is operations manager of the Gothenburg Culture Festival and operations manager for West Pride, LGBTQ Festival, according to Aftonbladet.

In the article, Stafilidis said that Greece’s economic crisis has stirred up a wave of right-wing extremism. A neo-Nazi party called Golden Dawn, which is anti-gay and anti-immigrant, won 18 seats in the Greek Parliament in the last election. The former MP ties the economic crisis to growing intolerance in Greece.

“These things go hand-in-hand when a country’s prosperity collapses,” he said.