ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's anti-terrorism division has been handed the investigation into the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, blamed on a supporter of the far-right Golden Dawn Party, the Public Order Ministry said Friday.
The order followed the arrest of a 45-year-old suspect in the deadly stabbing early Wednesday. In the wake of the slaying, the government also appealed to a Supreme Court prosecutor to investigate more than 30 offenses it says are linked to the ultranationalist party.
Golden Dawn, which has seen a sharp rise in support during the country's crippling economic crisis, has condemned the musician's murder and says it had no involvement in the attack.
The party, whose members have referred to immigrants as "subhumans," won nearly 7 percent of the vote in general elections last year and has seen its popularity continue to rise in opinion polls to around 12 percent.
The murder of Fyssas, a rapper known as Killah P, triggered protests around Greece and several smaller rallies in European cities, with the main march late Wednesday turning violent.
The government said it was determined to prosecute violent far-right gangs it says are being directed by Golden Dawn.
"It is all beginning to unravel," government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou told private Star television. "We will dismantle this neo-fascist, this neo-Nazi monstrosity."
Police guards assigned to Golden Dawn's 18 members of parliament were withdrawn Friday, after the government described the party as being a "criminal organization."
Party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris said it had sued Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias for slander.
"We are taking legal action against everyone ... who is responsible for this totally libelous attack against a legal political party," he said.
"We have said from the very start that we condemn this horrendous attack and that it has absolutely nothing to do with our party. You are all liars and slanderers."