Greek state TV closure triggers strikes
Athens: Greece's conservative-led government was facing a political crisis on Thursday after its decision to shut down state-run TV and radio as part of spending cuts triggered a wave of strikes and fierce opposition from within the coalition government.
The country's two largest labour unions called a 24-hour general strike for tomorrow with flights from Greece's airports set to halt for two hours that day.
TV and radio signals from the Hellenic Broadcasting Corp., or ERT, went dead early today, hours after the government closed the broadcaster down and fired its 2,500 workers, citing the need to cut "incredible waste."
Protesters gathered outside the company's headquarters north of Athens for a second day, sheltering from torrential rainfall in the building's giant lobby, as ERT's journalists defied the order and continued a live Internet broadcast.
Journalist unions also launched rolling 24-hour strikes, halting news programs on Greece's privately owned broadcasters, while the government's center-left coalition partners demanded that ERT's closure be reversed.
The government defended its decision, insisting a new more efficient and less costly public broadcaster would be launched before the end of the summer.
"When you restructure something from the foundations, you have to close it, temporarily," government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said.