NEWS

Opposition parties slam government over ERT raid

Greek opposition parties on Thursday slammed a government decision to remove the remaining ex-ERT employees from the state broadcaster’s headquarters.

SYRIZA MP Zoe Konstantopoulou was among a group of leftist deputies who attempted to enter the premises in the northern Athens suburb of Aghia Paraskevi early on Thursday, a few hours after police stormed into the building.

“The government… has carried out a coup against itself and against legality,” Konstantopoulou told journalists after police stopped them from entering the site.

The police used a pair of handcuffs to lock the main entrance to the site. Images of the handcuffs went viral on Greek social media, before police replaced them with a lock.

Fellow SYRIZA MP Dimitris Stratoulis described the night-time operation as an “illegal, coup-like act.”

The decision also drew criticism from the right wing populist Independent Greeks party as well as the Greek Communist Party (KKE).

Independent Greeks leader Pannos Kammenos tweeted that “occupation forces have swept the ERT building.”

“After the ERT shutdown and the mass layoffs, we have once more seen the face of state violence and terror,” said Communist Party deputy Diamanto Manolakou.

Greek riot police stormed into ERT headquarters in the early hours of Thursday and evicted dozens of protesters occupying it since June when the government shut abruptly the state broadcaster.

Scuffles broke out between some of the protesters and riot police, who had cordoned off the area and blocked the entrance to the building. Police fired small rounds of teargas to disperse some of the protesters and briefly detained two former workers and two unionists for resisting authorities, the officials said.

Crowds of supporters started rallying outside the main ERT building. A public rally has been called for 4 p.m. on Thursday.

Coalition partners PASOK defended the move.

“The restoration of legality, the free and full operation of public radio and television is necessary… to protect the public interest,” the socialists said in a statement.

“No one should be allowed to stop the modernization of public radio and television in the name of populism and opportunism,” it said.

Democratic Left, which left the coalition after disagreements in the government handling of the ERT case, attacked the administration’s intransigence.

“The past few months have highlighted the impasse of the government’s policies. This was to be expected given the absence of any meaningful negotiations, MP Dimitris Hatzisokratis told Mega TV.