Greek protesters, police clash at property repossession auction


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ATHENS (Reuters) – Dozens of Greek protesters clashed with police on Wednesday as they tried to storm a notary’s office to prevent an e-auction of repossessed properties under the country’s international bailout.

An injured demonstrator is detained by riot police during a protest against home auctions in Athens, Greece, March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

The protesters, led by the left-wing Popular Unity party, chanted “No home in the hands of bankers!” and threw eggs and garbage at a line of police guarding the office’s entrance.

At least one protester was visibly injured in the scuffles, with blood around his eye.

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The auctions, a condition of the bailouts Greece negotiated with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, have often been disrupted by leftist activists who say they are unfair and target the poor.

Notaries, who handle the auctions, boycotted them for months over safety concerns, but returned to work after the government said it would improve the process and increase security. Online auctions began in November.

Greek banks are saddled with more than 100 billion euros in bad loans after years of financial crisis, mainly due to people’s inability to repay mortages.

Popular Unity said four e-auctions had been scheduled to take place at the office in Athens targeted by the protesters on Wednesday, each involving accumulated debts of up to 100,000 euros.

Reporting by Costas Baltas; Writing by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Gareth Jones


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