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Greek police arrest leader of far-right Golden Dawn party

Leader of far-right Golden Dawn party Nikolaos Mihaloliakos addresses an election campaign rally in Perama, near Athens, on April 23, 2012. Greek police arrested Mihaloliakos and spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris on Saturday on charges of founding a criminal organisation. Yannis Behrakis / Reuters

ATHENS - Greek police arrested the leader and the spokesman of the far-right Golden Dawn party on Saturday on charges of founding a criminal organization, and have issued arrest warrants for dozens more party members and lawmakers, police officials said.

Police are investigating the party for links with the killing of an anti-fascist rapper by a self-proclaimed Golden Dawn supporter. The stabbing to death of Pavlos Fissas on September 17 sparked violent protests in the capital of Athens.

"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 in a text message to journalists.

The two men arrested were party's leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos and spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, officials said.

Golden Dawn -- Greece's third most popular party, according to opinion polls -- has denied any links to the rapper's killing and Mihaloliakos has warned it may pull its 18 lawmakers from parliament if the crackdown does not stop. 

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