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Greeks strike over state TV closure

Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 02:12

June 13 - Strikes paralyse Athens transport as protests continue over the closure of Greek state broadcaster ERT. Joel Flynn looks at the questions now being asked about whether the government's move to close the station was motivated more by political gain than economic reality.

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It started with the closure of the state broadcaster. But now strikes in Greece have spread - buses and subway trains in Athens among those hit. SOUNDBITE: 40-year-old local resident, Katerina, saying (Greek): "I agree with the strike because it's not just about ERT anymore - ERT is just the tip of the iceberg." SOUNDBITE: 80-year-old pensioner, Panagiotis Panagopoulos, saying (Greek): "I agree with the strike but both sides have good points. On the one hand people are getting fired but on the other they are way too many of them, and the taxpayer has to pay for that." Protests about the closure of ERT are also growing and the country's fragile coalition is now under threat. The Prime Minister will hold talks with his partners next week. But Antonis Samaras still says he won't reverse his decision, calling defenders of ERT "hypocrites". That's infuriated many, including opposition party leader Alexis Tsipras. SOUNDBITE: Syriza Party Leader, Alexis Tsipras, saying (Greek): "This act of muzzling the state broadcaster is the last straw. We are calling on people to defend democracy. Everyone should know that this barbaric government will fall not in the halls of parliament, but in the streets." Greek bond yields have crept back above 10 percent on fears of instability. The government's failure to sell state assets is also worrying investors. European and IMF loan inspectors are currently in the country - and the timing of the ERT's closure has been noted. A government source told Reuters it was meant to impress them. The reaction to it may not be so welcome But so far - says Richard Hunter from Hargreaves Lansdown - markets aren't too worried. SOUNDBITE: Hargreaves Lansdown Head of Equities, Richard Hunter, saying: "I think the Greek situation, which has kind of, sort of fallen off the page a little bit in terms of recent market events, is one of those factors which is not enough to unstabilise the market in itself, but added to all the other concerns around China, Japan, the States and the general European economic situation, it's become newsworthy and it's just further unsettling investors." ERT is still broadcasting on the web and on small analogue channels. And more protests are planned outside its Athens headquarters. But while public sector workers have shown their solidarity - there's no sign yet the private sector will join in.

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Greeks strike over state TV closure

Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 02:12