Despite the growing authoritarianism of the Greek state, the rise of autonomous media makes the voice of the people increasingly difficult to drown out.
Just before dawn this morning, at 4am, eight squads of riot police stormed the headquarters of Greece’s former public broadcaster ERT in Athens. The station had been occupied by its workers since June this year, following an unprecedented presidential decree that effectively shut down the former state broadcaster overnight. The government order triggered mass protests and prompted the station’s 2.600 employees, who were set to lose their jobs from one day to the next, to defy state orders and resume broadcasting under workers’ control. When riot police assaulted and shut down the station’s transmission antennas, the workers continued broadcasting online.
But today, in images reminiscent of the military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1967 to ’74, an army of riot police cordoned off the building and forcibly removed the 50 workers and journalists who were guarding the offices and studios inside. When a spontaneous solidarity demonstration of some 200 people formed outside, police used teargas to disperse the crowd. A dramatic radio broadcast relays the final minutes of the station as the presenter continued his show until he was physically removed from the microphone by police. At least four people were arrested, including the head of the ERT employees’ union.