Protests are continuing in the Greek capital over the government’s shock move to shutdown the state broadcaster as part of its austerity drive.
Describing it as a “haven of waste” the government says its 2,600 strong staff will be sacked but able to apply for new jobs in a new streamlined set-up.
But supporters of the state broadcaster have vowed to fight the measure. Thousands gathered outside ERT’s headquarters after the announcement, vowing to fight the decision, and riot police blocked the entrance to a studio in central Athens where protesters had unfolded a banner reading “Down with the junta, ERT won’t close!”.
With ERT staff on rolling strikes over wage and job cuts, the government had been hinting at such a move for months, but the closure came as a surprise.
ERT news presenter Stavroula Christofilia said: “We’d heard lot of rumours about some channels shutting down or downsizing. But this complete closure, this blackout – even the military dictatorship didn’t do that when I was young.”
The closure is one of the most drastic measures Greece’s government has taken in its struggle to meet the terms of an international bailout.
It remains unclear when new state radio and tv stations will be back on-air.