Mystery protestor interrupts three live TV shows in one week

Man denouncing CIA plot highlights security lapses that labor unions attribute to budget cuts

Rosario G. Gómez

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The intruder enters the TVE set during a live broadcast.
The intruder enters the TVE set during a live broadcast.

Carlos Díez Fernández, a self-styled writer with something to say about a CIA plot, managed to make his way on to the sets of three different live daytime TV shows last week, a security lapse that labor unions have attributed to spending cuts prompted by the economic crisis.

On April 1 Díez Fernández gained access to one of Spain’s favorite gossip shows, Sálvame, broadcast by Telecinco, interrupting presenter Paz Padilla for a few seconds before he was bundled away.

The next day he made his way into the studios of La Sexta, and walked on to the set of news and current affairs program Más vale tarde. But the show’s director was able to keep the camera off the intruder until he could be removed from the studio.

We think he was hiding for a couple of hours in the restroom”

Finally, on April 3, the man gained access to the studios of state broadcaster TVE at Torrespaña and briefly interrupted the evening news program.

TVE said that it was investigating how Díez Fernández was able to enter the building, evading several security checks. Labor unions put the security lapse down to spending cuts that have reduced staff numbers in recent years.

“There are fewer security guards now,” admitted a spokesman for TVE, saying the rear entrance to its Prado del Rey studios has been closed to save on security personnel. But the spokesman said a guard is posted at the main entrance, and that there is another in the studio itself. He added that the police were called after Díez Fernández was detained, and that he was released after they took his name and address.

It appears that Díez Fernández had first tried to enter the Prado del Rey studios along with the audience to an early morning program, but was stopped by security staff who ejected him from the building. He then made his way across Madrid to the Torrespaña studios, which he entered by using an entrance for disabled people. “We think he was hiding for a couple of hours in the restroom,” said the TVE spokesman. About 20 minutes into the news program, he walked on to the set waving a folder and shouting about a CIA plot.

How on Earth was it possible for somebody to enter this incredibly expensive studio, without somebody stopping him?”

“How on Earth was it possible for somebody to enter this incredibly expensive studio, make his way to the set and get in front of the cameras without somebody stopping him?” asked a member of the USO labor union, which represents TVE staff.

“This is definitely something that should not have happened,” said Ignacio Corrales, the director of TVE. “After this we will be much more alert about security. These things rarely happen, and we understand that it will not happen again,” he added.

Such incidents involving the public are rare on Spanish television, although a number of programs on Madrid regional channel Telemadrid have recently been interrupted by technicians and other staff protesting cuts at the channel.

Díez Fernández had previously tried to attract attention by holding up a placard when Queen Sofia visited King Juan Carlos in hospital last year.

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