News / Europe

Greece Investigates Police Links to Far-right Party

Demonstrators carry a placard which reads in Greek "Fascists Out " during a protest in central Athens, Sept. 23, 2013. Greece's anti-terrorism division has been handed the investigation into the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, blamed on a supporter of the far-right Golden Dawn Party.
Demonstrators carry a placard which reads in Greek "Fascists Out " during a protest in central Athens, Sept. 23, 2013. Greece's anti-terrorism division has been handed the investigation into the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, blamed on a supporter of the far-right Golden Dawn Party.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Greece suspended several senior police officers on Monday and launched an investigation into possible police links with a far-right party, after the killing of an anti-racism rapper raised concerns about the force.
 
Pavlos Fissas's stabbing by a supporter of the Golden Dawn party last week revived accusations that police were turning a blind eye to its activities or had even been infiltrated by it.
 
A man who said he had a “loose” connection with Golden Dawn has been charged with Fissas's murder but the party, Greece's third most popular, has denied involvement.
 
The investigation comes as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's government tries to rein in a party that has surged in popularity during Greece's economic crisis. With its vehemently anti-immigrant rhetoric, Golden Dawn is often blamed for attacks against immigrants, something it denies.
 
The public order ministry ordered the investigation after media reports alleged police were “actively involved” with the party's activities and may have participated in illegal acts.
 
Five senior national police officials as well as the police chiefs in the Athens neighborhoods of Nikaia and of Keratsini, where the killing occurred, have been replaced, the police said in a statement.
 
“The minister is determined to dispel any shadow of doubt that hangs over the force,” the statement said.
 
Four police officials in Evia, in central Greece, were suspended for failing to investigate why people had been found carrying weapons, including baseball bats, near Golden Dawn offices in the area, the public order ministry said.
 
Two other high-ranking police officials also resigned, citing personal reasons, it added.
 
Every City, Every Village
 
Calls to ban Golden Dawn have increased in recent days, and the leftist opposition Syriza party has accused the government and the police of failing to investigate allegations that the party had cells operating within the force.
 
“They thought [Golden Dawn] was a little snake and they patted it,” Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras said. “Now it's about to choke us.”
 
Golden Dawn leader Nikos Mihaloliakos said moves to ban the party would not succeed.
 
“Golden Dawn is everywhere. It has spread to every city, to every village,” Mihaloliakos said in a video live-streamed on the party's website. “It's in every neighborhood and you will not be able to contain it. Deal with it!”
 
Mihaloliakos said the party was victim of a “dirty attack by a corrupt system” and vowed to prove its innocence.
 
“We are asked to prove that ... I am not Al Capone, that we are not the mafia,” he said. “And I would like to ask - it is a rhetorical question of course - is there a bigger criminal gang than that which bankrupt the country?”
 
Police have often refused to investigate racist attacks by Golden Dawn members on immigrants, newspaper Eleftherotypia reported on Monday, citing a leader of the Pakistani community in Athens.
 
The party, with an emblem resembling a swastika, denies accusations of violence. Its members have been seen giving Nazi-style salutes but the party rejects the neo-Nazi label. Mihaloliakos has publicly denied the Holocaust.
 
Golden Dawn rose from being a fringe party to win 18 parliamentary seats in a June 2012 election. But support fell by 2.5 percentage points to 5.8 percent after the stabbing and most Greeks believe it threatens democracy, a poll showed on Monday.
 
When asked to described the party, 47 percent of those polled called it a “fascist organization”, 31 percent called it a “criminal organization under the guise of a political party”, and 16.9 percent saw it as a “populist nationalist movement”.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid