By Harry Papachristou
ATHENS | Tue Sep 24, 2013
(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 neighbourhoods 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…
(Read the full story on Reuters’s website: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/09/24/uk-greece-goldendawn-idUKBRE98M16D20130924)