Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Protesters occupy Greek TV station

A group of 20 students occupied the state run NET TV channel in Athens yesterday in protest against the killing of 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos by a police officer eleven days ago. Holding up a banner which said, "Stop Watching. Everyone on the Streets" they interrupted the station's broadcast of prime minister, Kostas Karamanlis's speech in parliament.

This is another is series of demonstrations which have swept Greece in the wake of the killing and have put the present administration on the defensive. Hundreds of schools and campuses throughout Greece remain under occupation and protest marches have taken place daily in many cities. Although the violent scenes witnessed last week have died down young people's feeling of anger at the police and the present econmic situation hasn't diminished.

On its site NET channel said that;

"Disrupting any concept of democratic dialogue, a group of young people stormed state television ERT studio at noon while the new bulleting was aired. They managed to interrupt the regular program, putting at risk body integrity of employees, to air their slogans. State Television ERT chairman, Hristos Panagopoulos denounced the action of the particular group, noting that they had not identified themselves even in the text they tried to distribute in the corridors. Mr. Panagopoulos stressed that they were not students but unknown people, who do not respect freedom and democracy. They were not an organized group but sneaked into the state television premises, adding that they blocked both himself and journalists responsible for the news bulletin. "

It should be noted that the state run media has long been accused by opposition parties of pro government bias in its coverage of domestic politics. The opposition PASOK party rerpresentative, Tilimaxhos Hitiris accused NET of being a "propaganda mechanism".

Monday's high school student demonstration outside the central police headquarters in Athens which was violently broken by when the police used batons and tear gas to drive demonstrators back. Whilst scenes of police attacking teenagers were shown on many private TV stations the state run channels showed earlier scenes of students presenting officers with flowers.

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