Police clash with protesters against foreclosed property auctions in Athens

police clash

police clash

by Aggelos Skordas

Protestors clashed with riot police squads on Wednesday outside a notary office in downtown Athens during yet another demonstration against electronic auctions of foreclosed properties. During the violent clashes five people were injured (among them a photojournalist) with the protestors accusing police for extended use of violence. Specifically, in order to prevent the crowd from entering the office and interrupting an ongoing auction the riot police fired tear gas and pushed them back with truncheons, resulting to the head injury of at least one protestor whose head was covered in blood.

Among the campaigners were members of the party of Popular Unity (LAE), led by Panagiotis Lafazanis a former minister of governing SYRIZA, as well as other leftist groups and individual activists. The protest took place on the junction of Akadimias and Themistokleous Streets in the center of the Greek capital and the demonstrators threw eggs and garbage against the police forces while chanting “No home in the hands of bankers”. During the scuffles, police proceeded to the detention of five members of the Popular Unity party.

Electronic auctions of repossessed properties were introduced in Greece in late 2017, after numerous attempts to proceed with auctions in courts, were all interrupted due to the strong reactions of activists which often led to scuffles. The auctions are included in the package of reforms the Greek government has agreed to with its international creditors in exchange for bailout funds. The notaries who handle the auctions hesitated for months to proceed with the process over safety concerns and it was not until November 2017 they agreed to return to their duties after government guarantees for increased security and improved, snap process. The Greek government has committed to some 50,000 property auctions until 2021, as the banks are saddled with more than 100 billion euros in bad loans.

A similar protest took place last week in downtown Athens resulting to the injury of yet another activist.

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.