News / Europe

Greek Riot Police Storm Former State TV Building

A protester yells at policemen outside the headquarters of Greece's state television ERT, north of Athens, November 7, 2013.
A protester yells at policemen outside the headquarters of Greece's state television ERT, north of Athens, November 7, 2013.
Reuters
Riot police stormed the former Greek state television headquarters in Athens on Thursday and evicted dozens of  journalists who were fired five months ago, ending a protracted sit-in against the broadcaster's closure.
 
The government took ERT off the air in June to meet a target for public sector job cuts set by foreign lenders, triggering a political crisis that prompted one party to quit the ruling coalition.
 
Police carried out the pre-dawn eviction as inspectors from European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders were in Athens reviewing the progress it made in meeting the targets of its multi-billion bailout before disbursing more funds.
 
“I was on air when riot police stormed into the studio and ordered me to shut the microphones and leave,” said Nikos Tsibidas, spokesman for ERT's radio workers union. “I've never seen anything like this before; it's barbaric and indicative of the kind of democracy we have in this country.”
 
Greece's anti-bailout opposition denounced the police raid and forced a vote of confidence against the government. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's government is expected to win the vote, which will be held late on Sunday, without much trouble.
 
Minor scuffles broke out between some protesters and riot police, who had cordoned off the area and blocked the entrance to the building that has been draped for months with banners reading “ERT Open” and “No to layoffs."
 
Police fired a few rounds of tear gas to disperse small groups of protesters and briefly detained four people for resisting authorities during the raid, officials said.
 
Some of the journalists, who have kept ERT alive with an illegal news feed over the Internet for five months, refused to leave the yard of the building, where hundreds of chanting ERT supporters rallied.
 
More rallies were planned for later in the day.
 
“This is how fascism works, slyly and in darkness,” said Adrianna Bili, a former ERT employee, after she and other protesters were evicted from the building. “I feel like they have raped me, like they have violated my home, they have violated my life, democracy. They have destroyed everything.”
 
On Thursday, the channel showed footage of an empty newsroom and images of the headquarters with the text “ERT belongs to all Greeks” running across it.
 
Delirium
 
The government said the police operation shortly after 4 a.m. (0200 GMT) was carried out to “apply the law and restore legality.” Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou, a former ERT journalist himself, said ERT was “under illegal occupation”.
 
Inside the building, police checked in the presence of a prosecutor whether facilities and equipment had been damaged since the broadcaster's closure.
 
“The government has reached such a point of delirium that it is staging a coup against itself,” said Zoe Konstantopoulou, a senior lawmaker from the leftist opposition Syriza party, who rushed to the building in solidarity with ERT workers.
 
“Some people will be held accountable before history and future generations,” she said.
 
Under lender pressure, the government singled out ERT as a paragon of public waste and mismanagement in Greece.
 
Still, the decision to silence ERT and fire its 2,600 employees to please EU/IMF lenders shocked many in Greece and reduced Samaras's majority in the 300-seat parliament to five.
 
The Democratic Left party, which quit the coalition in protest, accused the government on Thursday of being “autocratic” in implementing reforms and of “violently restructuring state TV”.
 
The government has since launched a new television channel called Public TV, or DT, in which about 600 people have been hired, many of them from the defunct ERT.
 
A message on ERT's Facebook page calling for people to protest in solidarity read: “It's time to act. Rally now!”
 
The main opposition Syriza party denounced the police raid as authoritarian and said it was just a precursor for the tough, new austerity measures the government was preparing.
 
“You break into state television headquarters in the middle of the night to do the same [later] to indebted people's homes and put them up for auction,” said Syriza chief Alexis Tsipras.
 
Samaras's government said it was not worried about the confidence vote. “You have given the government a very good opportunity to prove that its majority is strong and cohesive,” Administration Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in reply to Tsipras.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid