This news is a few days old, but: When the economically and politically bruised Greek government announced it would shut down the country's equivalent of the BBC, the journalists and technicians didn't walk away. They took over.

On Tuesday, it was announced that ERT – the Greek equivalent of the BBC – would be closed down by Antonis Samaras' coalition government after 87 years of operation, the latest in a line of austerity measures after the country was bailed out in 2010. The "sudden death" of the national public broadcaster – which was largely state-funded, with Greek households paying a fee through their electricity bills – took with it some 2,600 jobs; journalists, technicians, artists – everyone it usually takes to run an array of nationwide TV and radio stations. There were plans to replace it with a new public broadcast company called NERIT, but with a hugely reduced number of staff.

However, its closure was far from the end of the story for ERT. Soon after the announcement was made at around 6PM, the redundant workers returned to their former place of work, took control of the company's broadcast frequencies and began transmitting their own programmes.

The government responded by trying to pull the plug on the now-volunteer journalism project, and the broadcasters played hide-and-seek with transmission signals. Meanwhile, thousands reportedly amassed at the station, radical leftists and conservatives alike, to express their support.

By the morning, the workers had won a few important technical battles, but the signal was still unstable and they had to regularly change the analogue and digital frequencies to keep on broadcasting. Worse still, armed police had begun trekking up the mountains around Athens to switch off ERT's antennas.

The European Broadcasters Union announced its support for ERT and gave it a satellite TV channel to broadcast worldwide.

Then Greece tried diplomatic intervention with Israel to shut ERT down:

Officials in Athens confirmed that Greece's ambassador to Israel, Spyros Lambrinis, had held talks with the Israeli government after it became clear that RRsat, a privately-owned local company and subcontractor of the EBU, was continuing to transmit ERT via its uplink facilities in Greece...

"He made no demands as such but, yes, it is a rather unpleasant situation," added the official who contacted the ambassador before speaking to the Guardian.

Now it looks like a Greek court has ordered the restoration of ERT's signal, but there's uncertainty about the staffing and future of the station.

The upshot: Greek journalists working for free while the Greek government burned diplomatic capital to stop them.

It's a mad world.