News / Europe

Greece Investigates Police Links to Far-right Party

Demonstrators carry a placard which reads in Greek
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.
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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs