Greece activates wiretaps against neo-Nazi Golden Dawn: justice source

A supporter of extreme-right ultra nationalist party Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi), waits during a rally in Athens in June. Many accuse the party of being complicit in vigilante violence and using neo-Nazi, anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Greece's intelligence service has activated wiretaps on members of neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn in an effort to prove alleged complicity in crimes following the murder of an anti-fascist musician, a justice source said Thursday.

"The intelligence service has the authority to conduct wiretaps for reasons of national safety, provided there is judicial approval," the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

Greek authorities have been trying to prove a link between Golden Dawn and criminal activity following the murder last week of an anti-fascist musician, allegedly carried out by a self-confessed neo-Nazi.

"Both random and targeted wiretaps have been carried out for quite some time," the source added, noting that the operation preceded the musician's murder.

The fatal stabbing of 34-year-old hip hop artist Pavlos Fyssas in an apparent Golden Dawn ambush has been followed by protests, some of them violent.

More from GlobalPost: Police and anti-fascists clash in Greece after Golden Dawn murder

On Tuesday, at least 10,000 people demonstrated in Athens in an anti-fascist protest organized by unions and political parties.

Clashes with police broke out when demonstrators tried to approach Golden Dawn's central offices in Athens.

The rise of Golden Dawn, which won 18 parliamentary seats last year, has exposed Greece to international criticism a few months before it assumes the rotating European Union presidency in January.

Greek police have also been accused of routinely turning a blind eye to scores of migrant beatings, which the victims say were carried out by Golden Dawn supporters.

In September, the Greek ombudsman's office had reported to political parties the apparent "reluctance" of police to tackle racist attacks and investigate complaints against the police.

Several police officers have been suspended and an investigation has been ordered into claims that the neo-Nazi party enjoys wide support among the country's police force.

Golden Dawn, whose anti-corruption rhetoric had massively boosted its popularity in recent months, denies any involvement in violence, though several of its lawmakers have been involved in assaults.

The organization says it has been unfairly targeted ahead of European parliament and municipal elections next year.