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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-12-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Protestors interrupt live state TV news broadcast
  • [02] Verdict issued in police brutality case

  • [01] Protestors interrupt live state TV news broadcast

    The regular programme of the state television network NET was briefly interrupted at 15:10 on Tuesday when a group of unknown young people broke into the studio while the afternoon news programme was being broadcast, bearing a banner reading "Stop watching, get out onto the street".

    The president of the state broadcasting organisation ERT Christos Panagopoulos apologised for the interruption and condemned it on behalf of ERT and the workforce as "an pre-planned act that went beyond all social tolerance and all aspects of protest".

    He said he took full responsibility for what had occurred, with all that this might entail, adding that it had been an "organised invasion" by a group that did not represent anyone.

    "There was no sit-in but an incursion by a small group of unknown people, that started entering the buildings of ERT from the morning as visitors," Panagopoulos explained, noting that those involved were not high school students but people in their mid-20s "without a face or identity" that claimed to be people of the arts and letters.

    He also accused the group of deliberately creating a diversion so that they could carry out their 'coup', turning up at his office and asking to express their objections to the way that the recent incidents had been covered by private television channels.

    While talking to those in his office, Panagopoulos said, he was then informed that another group had broken into the studio and forced the directors and cameramen to depart, cut off the sound and turning the cameras onto themselves.

    "They were people that knew how to use the control room, the machinery, the cameras. It was planned," Panagopoulos repeated.

    He revealed that ERT had been alerted to the fact that a protest was being planned and had stepped up security at its Agia Paraskevi and Katehaki sites.

    "The guarding continued until 14:00 in the afternoon. What happened was, however, organised from the morning," he stressed.

    Government, parties comment

    Referring to the incident at ERT, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros strongly condemned what he called "an attempt by some extremist elements to damage the smooth and independent operation of a mass media organisation, and what's more, one with a public character".

    The actions indicated the contempt in which such elements held the rules by which Greece's democracy functioned, he added.

    "For this reason, every such action on the part of those that plan it, carry it out or even simply support it, is a conscious attempt to abolish democracy," Antonaros said.

    According to main opposition PASOK's spokesman for media issues Tilemachos Hytiris, the incidents at ERT were "inevitable" given that the government had "converted the state television into a mechanism for propaganda and wasting public money".

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), on the same issue, said that the particular move "could not be ruled out" as one of many possible forms of action.

    "Our own objection lies with the anonymity of the action, and the fact that the messages and the slogans should have been related to the problems in education and others that concern the youth of the working class, the children of the working class family".

    [02] Verdict issued in police brutality case

    A Thessaloniki Court of Appeals on Tuesday handed down guilty verdicts and suspended prison sentences ranging from 15 to 39 months on eight police officers found guilty of severely beating up 26-year-old Cypriot student Avgoustinos Dimitriou two years ago. The bloody incident was recorded during a march in Thessaloniki commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the Polytechnic School uprising against the junta of the colonels. Police maintained that Dimitriou sustained his injuries when he tripped and fell against a scooter and a large flower pot. However, footage showed that officers had hit and kicked the student when he was on the ground. Dozens of young protesters demonstrated outside the court building and chanted slogans against police as soon as the court ruling was out. They were dispersed by riot police. Caption: Police use tear gas to disperse demonstrators gathered outside a Thessaloniki courthouse on Tuesday, protesting against the relatively light sentences handed down to eight police officers found guilty of beating up a Cypriot student at a march in 2006. ANA-MPA - N. Arvanitidis.
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