ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's government ordered a probe into possible police connections with the far-right Golden Dawn party on Monday and replaced several top officers after the killing of an anti-racism rapper turned the spotlight on the force.
Pavlos Fissas's stabbing by a Golden Dawn sympathizer last week triggered street protests across Greece, but also revived accusations that police were turning a blind eye to Golden Dawn's activities, or had even been infiltrated by it.
A man who said he had a "loose" connection with Golden Dawn has been charged with Fissas's killing but the party, Greece's third most popular, has denied involvement.
Police said the investigation into the force had been ordered by Greece's public order ministry.
Five senior national police officials as well as the police chiefs in the Athens neighborhoods of Nikaia and of Katserini, where the killing occurred, have been transferred and will be replaced, police said.
"The minister is determined to dispel any shadow of doubt that hangs over the force," the police statement said.
Calls to ban the party have grown louder in recent days, and the leftist opposition Syriza party accused the government and the police on Sunday of failing to investigate allegations that Golden Dawn cells were operating within the force.
Four police officials in Evia in central Greece were suspended on Monday for failing to investigate why people had been found carrying weapons, including baseball bats, near Golden Dawn offices in the area without permission, the public order ministry said.
Two other senior police officials also resigned, citing personal reasons, the ministry said.
(Reporting by Harry Papachristou; Writing by Deepa Babington; Editing by Kevin Liffey)