By Nicholas Paphitis
December 16 2008
Protesters forced their way into Greece’s state NET television news studio Tuesday and interrupted a news broadcast featuring the prime minister so they could urge viewers to join mass anti-government demonstrations.
For more than a minute, about 10 youths blocked a broadcast showing a speech by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
Instead, they displayed banners reading: “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 claimed the protesters violently forced their way into the studio. “This goes beyond any limit,” he said.
It was the latest twist in 11 days of riots and protests after a policeman shot and killed a 15-year-old boy Dec. 6. The violent protests have evolved from being just aimed at Greek police to being highly critical of Karamanlis’ conservative government.
Karamanlis has rejected mounting demands to resign and call new elections.
Earlier Tuesday, masked youths attacked riot police headquarters in Athens and protesters clashed with police in the northern city of Thessaloniki.
Police said 30 youths threw petrol bombs and stones at the riot police building, causing extensive damage to seven cars and a police bus parked outside.
Students blocked streets in Athens and dozens of teenagers gathered outside the capital’s main court complex and a maximum security prison – where some threw stones at police.
Protesters have called for riot officers to be pulled off the streets, for police to be disarmed and for the government to revise its economic, social and education policies.
The protests have brought higher education in Greece 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.
After the shooting death of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, furious youths smashed and burnt hundreds of shops in Athens’ main shopping area, and attacked riot police who responded with massive tear gas.
Dozens of people have been injured in the rioting, while more than 300 people have been arrested. The policeman accused of killing the teenager has been charged with murder and is being held pending trial.
Greek rights activists protest over Pakistani’s injury
December 15 2008
Activists in Greece demanded the interior minister’s resignation on Monday over the severe injury of a Pakistani man in an alleged police attack on asylum-seekers.
The 24-year-old Pakistani man has been in a coma since December 6.
Petros Constantinou, an organiser with the Socialist Workers Party, said the migrant suffered head injuries when he fell into a dry riverbed trying to avoid a police charge.
The allegations came as Greece faced its worst riots in decades, sparked by the fatal police shooting of a 15-year-old boy in Athens – also on Dec 6. Activists called for concerted protests over the two incidents.
Constantinou said the Pakistani was injured when police attacked 5,000 immigrants lining up overnight to submit asylum applications at a western Athens police office.
Police say they are investigating the incident. They say riot police repulsed asylum-seekers who tried to jump the line.
“It was a brutal and obscene attack,” Constantinou said. “We want (Interior Minister Procopis) Pavlopoulos to resign.”
In October, another Pakistani asylum-seeker died after falling into the same riverbed while allegedly trying to avoid police.