Authorities in Greece have arrested Nikos Mihaloliakos, leader of the country ' s neo - Nazi party Golden Dawn, and one of its lawmakers.
“The Secretary General and one lawmaker of the Golden Dawn Party were arrested a short while ago after arrest warrants were issued,” Greek police said on Saturday. According to reports, Mihaloliakos has been arrested on charges of forming a criminal organization. Police said arrest warrant have been issued for another five Golden Dawn parliament deputies, adding that even more warrants are expected. The arrests follow the murder of a left-wing musician by a suspected Golden Dawn member. On September 18, Pavlos Fyssas, a 34-year-old leftist rapper, was stabbed to death by George Roupakias outside a café in Keratsini, western Greece’s capital Athens. Roupakias, a Golden Dawn member, admitted stabbing Fyssas but said he was acting in self-defense. The musician’s killing triggered a wave of protests across Greece and prompted strong statements by the country’s political leaders. Last Wednesday, police fired teargas at protesters who gathered near the headquarters of the Golden Dawn in Athens. Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos, whose socialist party is part of Greece's three-way coalition government, said earlier that Golden Dawn had “violence as its priority and must be dealt with as a criminal organization.” Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, also called on Greek authorities to examine banning the party altogether. Golden Dawn, which won nearly seven percent of the vote in the country’s 2012 general elections, now has about 12 percent of the population's support.