'Tens of thousands of Greeks have signed a petition calling for the punishment of tourists who were filmed throwing stones at a swordfish which was later found dead.
A video of the attack, which took place earlier this month on a beach in the town of Chalkida, has gone viral on Greek social media, sparking outrage and anger.
A huge crowd of sunbathing tourists can be seen gathered at the water’s edge while the one-metre long fish swims frantically among them.
Several young men try to grab the wriggling fish while others can be seen hurling stones and other objects at the animal.
After a while the swordfish, which some reports said was in fact another species, managed to escape and swam away, pursued by a group of men and more stones.
It was later found dead by officials at the harbour. Although it has not yet undergone an autopsy to find out the cause of death, many in Greece blame the tourists for the creature’s demise.
A petition which demands the bathers involved are prosecuted and fined, as well as the harbourmaster employees who allegedly failed to intervene, has already reached 27,000 signatures.
The petition will be sent to the Greek police and the country’s animal protection authorities.
“It is time to stop the horrible tactics of animal abuse in our country,” the petition states. “We ask for a fine to everyone involved… as well as to the port [officials] that allegedly were there and did not intervene.
“We know, of course, that this is not a protected species, but our voice must be heard so that the unacceptable mob behaviour towards every weak creature finally stops.”
Unconfirmed reports on social media suggest some of the bathers initially feared the swordfish, which was swimming close to the surface with its dorsal fin sticking out of the water, was a shark.
Others said the fish had come in so close to land because it was trying to find a place where it could breed.'
Read more: Outrage after swordfish ‘stoned to death’ by tourists on Greek beach
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