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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More