Spain local TV cut from air as laid-off staff mutiny

Spain local TV cut from air as laid-off staff mutiny
Employees of public broadcaster Radio Television Valenciana (RTVV) protest after the regional government announced the closure of TV and radio stations on November 6

MADRID - A debt-laden Spanish television station went abruptly off the air on Friday, apparently cut off by authorities as laid-off staff protested live in defiance of orders to shut it down.

The Valencia government run by the conservative Popular Party ordered the region's loss-making public broadcaster RTVV to be shut down but staff refused to go quietly.

When the regional government published "the law for the elimination, dissolution and liquidation" of RTVV on Thursday, the workers launched a live protest broadcast through the night.

In one programme, the backdrop was a cross above the words: "Here lies RTVV, abused, exploited, manipulated and killed by the Popular Party".

But live pictures on the channel on Friday showed police and bailiffs present in the channel's headquarters and at 12:19 pm (1119 GMT) the picture went black.

Workers had managed to block several attempts during the night to take them off the air, said Salut Alcover, deputy head of the staff representatives' committee for Radio Television Valenciana (RTVV).

"It has been a very sad night but at the same time unforgettable and emotional for this company because we, the staff, continue to broadcast," she had said ahead of the shutdown.

Police officers had deployed during the night outside the television station's headquarters, pictures published in the media showed.

RTVV's radio broadcasts reportedly went off air just before midnight.

Minutes later, television staff began live coverage of their struggle.

The RTVV Internet site was not available from mid-morning on Friday.

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