More than 15 riot police squads raided the building of former public broadcaster ERT at 4 a.m. Thursday morning. The raid took place five months after the overnight shut down of ERT on June 11th 2013. ERT personnel was sacked. Journalists and technicians had been occupying ERT since then and broadcasting live program on 24/7 basis.
Riot police squads enter the building form a side entrance and fired tear gas in the yard to disperse a crowd of occupiers’ supporters.
video: riot police raid uploaded by ertopen.com
Four journalists were taken to Greek police headquarters but they were later released.
People but also MPs from left-wing SYRIZA and communist KKE are now outside the ERT building.
Former ERT personnel calls on public to a protest rally of solidarity at 4 p.m. today.
According to Greek media, the raid followed a decision of prime minister Antonis Samaras (Nea Dimokratia) with the consent of deputy prime minister Evangelos Venizelos (PASOK).
The raid was condemned by SYRIZA, KKE, former Samaras’ colaition partner Democratic Left (DIMAR), Independent Greeks and Golden Dawn.
video: ERT in handcuffs
A thick chain and a pair of handcuffs in the main entrance of ERT. A policeman attempted to remove the handcuffs but he gave in to the pressure of protesters.
Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou:
“Police intervention in ERT was done in order to apply the law and restore legality. ERT building was under illegal occupation, resulting in daily losses for the Greek government. The intervention took place in presence of prosecutor.”
During the police raid some 50 sacked ERT employees were inside the building.
The prosecutor informed them that if they did not leave voluntarily, they would be detained. The workers refused to leave and police forces, which blocked access to the premises, entered around 05.10 am inside the building.
The main body of protesters were pushed back shortly before 7 a.m. and thus two residence blocks away form the entrance area in Agia Paraskevi suburb of northern Athens. Police fired tear gas.
According to Greek media, the journalists’ spokesman, the chairman of ERT employees union and two journalists were detained. All four were later released.
KTG understands that there was order not to detain the occupiers.
Video: outside ERT before: riot police, protesters
More and more people are gathering outside ERT
Earlier: riot police hinders SYRIZA MP (photo via @makissinodinos)
Pantelis Kapsis, the minister responsible for ERT, declared he had “no idea about the police raid.” [(LOL)] , according to Skai TV.
Former coalition partner of Samaras-Venizelos, Democratic Left condemned the police raid and spoke of”authoritarian methods to promote reforms”.
“Democratic Left categorically disagreed with the government’s option for the violent restructuring of public television and the rejection of any compromise. The months passed highlighted the deadlock of the government option. The authoritarian model for promoting reforms currently experiences the expected outcome of its application” riot police in the evacuation of ERT.” (via in.gr)
Protesters outside ERT.
Musicians and other artists were rushing to ERT to express their support.
Famous singer Vasilis Papakonstantinou was one of the first artists to rush to ERT this morning in solidarity. Speaking to ANT1 TV, Papakonstantinou expressed his anger about the police raid like that:
“I’m so happy. It’s a wonderful morning. I finally experience the new dictatorship. During Metaxas’ junta I wasn’t born, during Papadopoulos’s junta I was a little child.Finally I can experience a junta.”
12 o’ clock noon: Police – Protesters outside ERT after raid. via @Skar_
On October 10th 2013, a fired ERT3 employee jumped to her death from the fifth floor of an apartment building in Thessaloniki on Wednesday evening. The ambulance and the medical team that rushed to the spot could not save the 46-year-old woman. See more here
Pantelis Kapsis, the minister in charge of ERT and the Greek public broadcaster, said that the new Greek public broadcaster NERIT will move to the ERT headquarters in two weeks.
Meanwhile, the transition Greek public broadcaster DT was showing cartoons with Mickey & Co, while the riot police was raiding ERT, Skai TV Popi Tsapanidou said.
Journaslists union ESIEA launched a work stoppage for all Greek public and private media (television, radio, websites) in solidarity with ERT. The work stoppage will take place today 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
ESIEA calls on media workers to join the protest at 4 pm outside the ERT headquarters in Agia Paraskevi suburb of north Athens.
PS like in the good old junta times where police raided homes in the early morning hours…..