NEWS

Police tolerated Golden Dawn violence, says officers’ union chief

“During the last three years, there were many cases during which our colleagues displayed tolerance toward outbreaks of violence by members of Golden Dawn,” said the head of the Federation of Greek Police Officers (POASY) Christos Fotopoulos speaking to Skai on Tuesday.

Fotopoulos said that the federation had flagged up these incidents to police chiefs and the Public Order Ministry but said there was little reaction from either side.

On Monday two senior Greek Police officers resigned, while another four were suspended and eight were removed from key positions as part of a crackdown on Golden Dawn and a probe into possible links between the ultranationalist party and the police.

The officers who resigned cited “personal reasons” while those transferred from their posts were the heads of the department’s special forces, internal security, organized crime and explosive units, along with the head of the riot police unit in Keratsini, southwest of Athens, near where hip-hop artist Pavlos Fyssas was fatally stabbed by Giorgos Roupakias, a supporter of Golden Dawn, last Tuesday.

The four officers were suspended pending an internal investigation to determine whether any police officers should be held accountable for failing to collect evidence and make arrests following a search of the Goldn Dawn office in Halkida, Evia, last Friday, where seven suspected Golden Dawn members were briefly detained.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou is examining stricter legislation for hate crimes displaying racist, political or nationalist motives, while Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis is in the process of drafting legislation that would prevent parliamentary parties, such as Golden Dawn, from receiving the state funding they are entitled to if they are involved in illegal activities.