efe-epaThessaloniki (Greece)

The mayor of Greece's second-largest city was recovering on Sunday after being attacked by a mob, beaten to the ground with fists and bottles, and kicked sufficiently violently for him to require hospital treatment, as seen in images supplied to epa by a photojournalist on the ground.

Yiannis Boutaris, Mayor of the northern port city of Thessaloniki, had been attending a ceremony on Saturday to commemorate the killing of ethnic Greeks by Turks in World War One when he was set upon by around a dozen men, some wearing hoods, who punched the 75-year-old to the ground and then kicked him when he was down.

“It was a nightmare,” said Boutaris who had been attending a remembrance day ceremony in honor of the 353,000 victims of the genocide against Pontian Greeks by Ottoman Turkey on the territory of Asia Minor in 1915-1923.

“There were several people that attacked me. They were hitting me everywhere,” he said, adding he would talk more about the assault on Monday.

Kalypso Gioula, head of the city's council, who was with Boutaris at the time of the attack, said a mob had gathered around the mayor and continued beating and kicking him even after he had fallen.

“They wanted to harm him, they were beating him on the head, they even beat me and his police guards,” she said.

A group of people had approached Boutaris and told him to leave the event.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, said in a statement that the attackers were "far-right bullies who have to face the consequences of their actions."

Boutaris had to be helped off the ground and taken to the hospital by his aides.