Greek Police Arrest Far-Right Party Leader

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Greek police arrested the leader of the Greek far-right Golden Dawn party on charges of forming "a criminal organisation", as well as 15 other members of his party, police said.

Greek Police Arrest Far-Right Party Leader

Nikos Mihaloliakos, the party's secretary-general, was arrested along with Ilias Kassidiaris, the party's spokesperson, two other members of parliament and other party members, police said on Saturday.

They are due to appear in court this weekend to be formally charged, Al Jazeera reported.

The police counterterrorism unit is currently looking for the deputies, and more warrants are expected.

The arrests come 11 days after the killing of a left-wing activist rapper by an alleged Golden Dawn member.

"It remains now to be seen, whether once the evidence is laid out, that this organisation as a political party and paramilitary organisation has indeed been culpable of ordering either this killing or other acts of violence from the top down," reported Al Jazeera's John Psaropoulos from Athens.

The party has denied any links to the killing and Mihaloliakos has warned the party could pull its 18 lawmakers from parliament if the crackdown does not stop.

Golden Dawn expressed outrage at the arrests in a text message to journalists. "We call upon everyone to support our moral and just struggle against the corrupt system! Everyone come to our offices!" it said.

A later text message called for supporters to head to police headquarters "with calm and order". A small group of about 30 people initially gathered, standing on the sidewalk across the street from the building.

Saturday's developments came a day after that threat, a move that would prompt by-elections in the recession-hit country where the government is struggling to implement painful public sector reforms in return for international bailout funds.



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