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Greek protesters continue to block foreclosed properties auctions

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-01-11 09:28
Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against auctions of foreclosed properties outside a court in Athens, Greece, on Jan 10, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

ATHENS -- Hundreds of protesters "besieged" courts and notaries' offices here on Wednesday in order to block auctions of foreclosed properties.

Under a draft bill on the prior actions required to complete Greece's third program review, which will be voted in parliament next week, auctions of foreclosed properties will be carried out only electronically as of Feb 21.

The government turned to e-auctions to get around protests which have obstructed procedures since 2016 in order to facilitate banks to reduce nonperforming loans and meet bailout targets.

Under the third Greek bailout, which expires this summer, Greek banks must settle one out of three bad loans by 2020, meaning non-performing loans should be reduced by some 30 billion euros (36 billion US dollars).

Although the Association of Notaries of Athens, Piraeus and Aegean Islands postponed with an announcement on Tuesday the next auctions in courts to January 31, Leftist parties and labor unions members gathered outside courthouses again to protest.

Demonstrators warned that they will continue blocking in any way possible home repossessions for debts as low as 500 euros.

Panagiotis Lafazanis, a former minister of the ruling SYRIZA party, who broke away and formed a new party in the summer of 2015 after the signing of the third bailout, warned he intended to turn to hackers to block the online auctions.

The office his Leftist Popular Union (LAE) party rents in central Athens was electronically auctioned on Wednesday, he told media during a protest outside an Athens court.

According to the Association of Notaries of Athens, Piraeus and Aegean Islands, there were over 3,000 auctions of foreclosed properties scheduled so far in Athens alone in 2018.

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