Greek police evict protesters from former TV building
7 November 2013
Greek riot police stand outside the former ERT headquarters
ROME - Riot police in Athens have broken through locks, fired teargas, and evicted nearly 50 journalists who had staged a five-month sit-in at the headquarters of former state television network ERT.
The Greek government had abruptly shut down ERT in June, firing 2,656 employees in order to cut costs in an effort to appease European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders. When the shutdown was announced, many journalists staged a sit-in, refusing to leave the property while running an online broadcast to keep the news operation alive.
After nearly five months, police ended the sit-in on Thursday when riot police stormed ERT headquarters. Police fired several rounds of teargas into the crowd gathered outside to disperse the protesters before they barged into the building to clear out the roughly 50 remaining journalists. Police briefly detained four people who had resisted the removal attempts, including the head of the ERT labour union, but they later were all released.
Simos Kedikoglou, a spokesman for the government, said that the ERT was "under illegal occupation" and that police had entered to "restore legality." Meanwhile the Democratic Left party, which had quit the government coalition in June when ERT was shutdown, criticised the government, calling it "autocratic."
The building is now planned to house the new state television station, DT, which has hired many former ERT staff.