Five senior police officers in Greece have been replaced after the government ordered an urgent inquiry into alleged links between the police and the far-right Golden Dawn party.
The Public Order Ministry said the heads of the police’s special forces, internal security, organised crime, firearms and explosives, and a rapid-response motorcycle division had been moved to other posts pending an investigation into weekend reports in the Greek media that police provided the party with assistance in alleged criminal activity.
Golden Dawn won nearly 7 per cent of the vote in general elections last year, but is currently the subject of a criminal investigation following the murder last week of an anti-fascist rapper. The party denies any involvement in the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas or in frequent violent attacks by far-right street gangs against immigrants.
The government is seeking the prosecution of members of the far-right party under the country’s anti-terrorism law and is preparing a legislative amendment that would see Golden Dawn’s state campaign funding suspended if its politicians are accused of serious offences.
Monday’s action was taken “to ensure the absolute objectivity” of the police inquiry, the government said. Two less senior officers were also replaced, while a third was suspended, while regional police commanders of southern and central Greece resigned, citing personal reasons.