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

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid