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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-11-07

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Riot police breaks occupation of former public broadcaster ERT building

  • [01] Riot police breaks occupation of former public broadcaster ERT building

    ANA-MPA - Riot police shut down Messoghion Avenue before entering the premises of former public broadcaster ERT in the northern suburb of Aghia Paraskevi at 04:15 on Thursday morning to break the main building's occupation by former employees, there since June.

    The former employees had occupied ERT's main facilities since the government shut down the broadcaster to restructure it, while the new programme was transmitted from other and smaller facilities closer to Athens.

    The action took place in the presence of a prosecutor and was coordinated by Public Order and Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias, following orders by the premier and government vice president. Police entered the premises from the side entrance, on Dimitsanas street, and used tear gas to disperse people and keep them out of the courtyard.

    Four individuals taken to Athens Police Headquarters in Athens for questioning were later released; they included former ERT staff union president Panagiotis Kalfagiannis and three former ERT staffers, their lawyer Dimitris Perpataris said.

    Currently there is an inventory being taken of the broadcasters machinery and equipment in general, while representatives of the main press unions of POESY and ESIEA have issued a request to attend the registration. At the same time, former ERT staff and union members have issued a public invitation for a rally at the premises to protest the police intervention.

    The part of Messoghion leading north is still shut down and a police cordon is preventing people from approaching the broadcaster's gated premises and main building. Minor scuffles broke out between police and individuals who wanted to break the cordon, but no further incidents were reported concerning those gathered there.

    Athens Journalists' Union (ESIEA) president Maria Antoniadou said she and members of the board were on site "to defend the right of our colleagues to work," while Panhellenic Federation of Journalists' Unions (POESY) president Giorgos Savvidis requested permission to enter the premises as union representative.

    President of POSPERT (ERT staff) Panagiotis Kalfagiannis charged the government with trying to mislead the public and with choosing to intervene with police "to muddy the waters with (arrival of) the troika of Greece's lenders and (new) measures." The ERT building was found in a perfect state, he said, and blamed the special government-appointed manager for not taking inventory of the equipment on the premises, as requested by staff through a court order as of mid-July. He also announced that former ERT employees would hold an assembly at 16:00 on Thursday.

    The union representatives were joined by a delegation from main opposition party (SYRIZA), deputies of which protested that they were not allowed to approach the building for 2.5 hours.

    According to information, the police headquarters in Athens (GADA) had requested the presence of a prosecutor during the operation who would also be able to mediate so as to avoid the process of drawing up a case file and have people arrested. The prosecutor appointed was Nikos Gyzis.

    Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou in a statement on Thursday referring to police's intervention to ERT building said that the law was implemented and the order has been restored. "ERT building was under illegal occupation with result losses for the Greek State and police's intervention was held in the presence of a prosecutor.


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