Riot police squads had rushed as early as possible outside a shop in the old city of Rethymnon, Crete, and blocked the street to prevent locals from approaching. A representative of a US Fund was to install an alarm system at the shop the Fund had seized after buying the owner’s loan from a Greek bank. A court bailiff was also present in order to count and seize the merchandise and proceed with the eviction one of the many evictions underway in Greece.
However the local community was furious. Businessmen from the Solidarity Association of Rethymnon Debtors (SAOP) but also citizens attempted to break the police chain and prevent that the store was seized.
Tension, swears and a punch here and there became inevitable.
The fund’s representative broke the seal and went into the shop. Protesters threw objects at the him when he was exiting the shop, he fled under police protection.
While the court bailiff was removing wooden panels the owner had set up outside the shop, a member of the SAOP managed to go through the riot police and reportedly punched him several times. He had suffered a serious eye injury. The attacked was detained, the bailiff was expected to file a law suit against him.
They also removed the vehicle of a technical company that was assigned with the installation of an alarm system.
As none of the locksmiths of Rethymnon accepted to participate in the procedure, a locksmith from Chania was called in.
It was the third attempt by the Fund to seize the shop and the property. Also this time, the operation ended without success. The seizure order has been only partially executed.
US Funds have bought red loans and mortgages from the Greek banks. They target not the loan or mortgage repayment but the seizure of the properties and the debtors’ eviction.
Another small business unit in Rethymnon is under threat for confiscation and eviction. the owner that gives work to 25 people is struggling to make arrangements for debt repayment in order to avoid confiscation of machines and the business eviction. Private properties are also under threat.
According to SAOP, 7 out of 10 residents in Rethymnon owe to banks, to tax offices and social security funds. By mid June, there were 79 orders for confiscations and evictions.
The SAOP has prevented several evictions in the area, however, things will turn really ugly since the electronic auctions go into effect at the end of the month, as the government extended their starting date by some 10-15 days.
Electronic auctions will stop solidarity movements from often successfully prohibiting auctions especially of the so-called ‘first residence.’ Up to a certain mortgage amount, first residences are protected until the end of 2017.
During the economic crisis, debtors and mortgage homeowners saw their obligations explode. They are often trapped within a mountain of debts they will never manage to pay back.
After the third bailout and the last recapitulation of the banks, credit institutes increased pressure and started to send en masse eviction orders to thousands of homeowners whose properties were auctioned in previous years, in the first wave of evictions in 2012. Now the mercy time is over.
PS We will soon see in Greece scenes like the evictions in Spain…