ATHENS (Reuters) - Black-clad protesters in southern Athens have torn down a red sculpture shaped like an angel and broke its wings in a fresh act of violence against an artwork critics liken to Satan.
Protests against the 8-metre high sculpture called Phylax, which in Greek means "guardian", have ranged from throwing white paint and spitting at it to attempting to exorcise it with a Greek priest sprinkling holy water.
It was displayed in early December in a busy area in the coastal suburb of Palaio Faliro. Protesters have included some residents, religious conservatives and supporters of far right political groups.
Late on Wednesday night a group of 10-15 hooded persons tied it to the back of a truck and drove away, pulling it down, mayor of Palaio Faliro Dionysis Hatzidakis told Real FM.
"It's wings are now broken," said Hatzidakis who has filed a lawsuit. "It has been severely damaged."
"So, if we don't like something we destroy it ... for political purposes?," Hatzidakis said, adding that he suspected the attackers were far-right.
He said they threatened to hurt an eye-witness if he alerted authorities. If the sculpture can be repaired it will be reinstalled, a spokesman for the mayor told Reuters.
The sculpture was created by well-known Greek artist Kostis Georgiou who has exhibited both at home and in other countries. He told Enikos.gr that Phylax was transferred to a safe place and that he hopes "the evil shall not prevail".
"All this violence against the sculpture since the first moment it was installed has left me speechless," he told Reuters. "It should remain down on the ground as a memorial of the irrational rationale."