ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Five senior police officers in Greece were replaced Monday 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, organized 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 percent 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 angrily 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 lawmakers are accused of serious offences.
Monday's action was taken to "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.
Separately, the Defense Ministry on Sunday ordered its own inquiry into the news reports that Golden Dawn members were receiving informal training from serving and reservist special forces officers in the Greek military.