Greek police arrest five MPs in crackdown on neo-Nazi party

Greek police arrest five MPs in crackdown on neo-Nazi party

ATHENS - Greek police cracked down on the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, arresting its founding leader and four other members of parliament Saturday, following the murder of a leftist musician allegedly by a party activist.

The five Golden Dawn lawmakers, including founder Nikos Michaloliakos, were held overnight and are under investigation for belonging to a criminal organisation, a court source said.

The arrests came a day after Golden Dawn threatened to pull its lawmakers out of parliament, a move that could trigger a political crisis in the recession-hit country.

In dawn raids, Greek anti-terror police arrested Michaloliakos, who founded the party in 1980, along with party spokesman and MP Ilias Kasidiairis and three other lawmakers.

Michaloliakos is also under investigation for a separate charge of leading a criminal organisation.

The five will remain under arrest pending the outcome of a judicial investigation into the possible charges to be laid, a process of up to five days, a court source said.

The serious nature of the case could lead to discussion in parliament to strip the deputies of their parliamentary immunity.

Golden Dawn faced mounting pressure after a self-confessed neo-Nazi was arrested over the fatal stabbing of popular hip-hop musician Pavlos Fyssas, 34, on September 18, a killing that sparked nationwide protests.

The police sweep came after Greece's supreme court, which has been charged with investigating the far-right group, issued arrest warrants for some 30 members.

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