This picture taken from Greek state NET televisoin shows a group of protesters holding banners at a brief occupation of a studio during a news bulletin, Tuesday, Dec. 16 2008. Some 10 youths took part in the protest, interrupting footage of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. The main banner reads: "Stop watching, get out onto the streets." Earlier Tuesday, masked youths attacked the Greek riot police headquarters in Athens and other protesters clashed with police in a northern city, in a revival of violence sparked by a teenager's fatal shooting on Dec. 6. (AP Photo/Nikos Paphitis)
ATHENS, Greece – Greek protesters pushed their way into television and radio studios Tuesday, forcing broadcasters to put out anti-government messages in a change of tactics after days of violent street protests. A group of about 10 youths got into the studio of NET state television and turned off a broadcast of a speech by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, station officials said. The protesters forced studio cameras to instead show them holding up banners that read: "Stop watching, get out onto the streets," and "Free everyone who has been arrested." No one was hurt, and no arrests were reported.
NET chairman Christos Panagopoulos said the protesters appeared to know how to operate cameras and studio controls. "This goes beyond any limit," he said. In the northern city of Thessaloniki, protesters made their way into three local radio stations, agreeing to leave only when a protest message was read out on the air. Violence also broke out again after a two-day lull as masked youths attacked riot police headquarters in Athens and protesters clashed with police in Thessaloniki. Police said 30 youths threw petrol bombs and stones at the riot police building, damaging seven cars and a police bus parked outside.
In Thessaloniki, riot police fired tear gas to disperse 300 youths throwing fruit and stones outside the city's main court complex. The disturbance followed a court decision that found eight police officers guilty of abusing a student following riots two years ago. Overnight, arsonists attacked three Athens banks with petrol bombs, causing extensive damage. The fatal police shooting of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos on Dec. 6 set off violence that led to more than 300 arrested and left hundreds of stores smashed and looted. Retailers say the damage will cost them euro1.5 billion ($2 billion) in lost income.
Protesters have called for riot officers to be pulled off the streets and for police to be disarmed. But the protests tapped into wider discontent with Karamanlis' conservative government and there have been widespread calls for the government to revise its economic, social and education policies.
Higher education in Greece has come to a standstill. Lessons have stopped at more than 100 secondary schools that are under occupation by students, according to the Education Ministry. Scores of university buildings across Greece are also occupied.
Greece's opposition Socialists, who are calling for early elections, accused Karamanlis of mishandling the crisis which they said had worsened the effects of the international economic downturn.
"Greeks are losing their patience. Their salary is running out before the end of the month as they endure a major economic crisis, and at the same time can see the state collapsing," Socialist spokesman Giorgos Papaconstantinou said.
"People want answers to their problems, not speeches." Karamanlis insisted his government has acted "calmly and responsibly" in dealing with riots, avoiding the loss of life. But for the first time since the violence erupted, he acknowledged the public's sense of frustration. "Of course there are broader issues," he said. "People experience a lack or merit, corruption in their daily lives, and a sense of social injustice."
In Athens main Syntagma Square, Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis relaunched holiday celebrations after the city's Christmas tree was torched by rioters last week. A small group of protesters chanted slogans during tree-lighting ceremony, as hundreds of revelers looked on. The protesters, mostly students from various drama schools, handed out fliers that read: "Lavish storefront and Christmas Trees will not hide the reality."In a symbolic protest against how the tv stations are covering the events and in general against the television, activists gathered and smashed television sets in downtown Athens. The national and international media that appeared were moved away.
The following was published on Greek Indymedia:
OPEN CALL TO JOIN THE POPULAR ASSEMBLY ORGANISED BY THE LIBERATED TOWN HALL OF AGIOS DIMITRIOS IN ATHENS.
On the 6th of December 2008, a police man pulled a gun and shot dead a 15 year old child. Peoples’ rage is growing despite the attempts of both the media and the government to mislead public opinion.
It should be evident to all by now that this uprising is not merely an honorary response to the death of Alexandros. Ever since, there has been much talk about theft, burning and looting. For media and politicians, violence is understood only in terms of what disturbs the public order.
For us, however:
Violence is working non stop for 40 years and wonder whether you will ever retire.
Violence is the stock market, stolen pensions and shares.
Violence is to be obliged to take on a mortgage which you end up repaying double
Violence is the managerial right of an employer to dismiss you of your duties any time he or she likes.
Violence is unemployment, precarity, 700 Euros salary.
Violence is “accidents” in the work place, because bosses reduce their costs against the security of their employees.
Violence is being on prozak and vitamins in order to cope with overtime.
Violence is to be an immigrant, to live in fear that you are likely to be deported any time and experience a constant insecurity.
Violence is to be a housewife, a wage labourer and a mother at the same time.
Violence is to be sexually harassed at work and being told: “Smile, we are not asking you for much are we”.
The uprising of school children, students, unemployed the workers on temporary contracts and the immigrants broke through the violence of normality. This uprising must not stop! Syndicalists, political parties, priests, journalists and businessmen are determined to maintain the type of violence in which we refer to above.
It is not just them; we are also responsible for the indefinite continuation of the situation descried above. This uprising has opened a space for communication where we can finally express ourselves freely. We therefore decided to occupy the town hall of Agios Dimitrios and the call for a popular assembly, open to everyone
An open space for dialogue and communication, to break through the silence, to take over our lives!
Occupation of Agios Dimitrios town hall- Athens, Greece