Robin Hoods of Greece stand up for the dispossessed Civil disobedience groups in Greece have turned their attentions to fighting home auctions
To some they are bullies but to most Greeks, exhausted by the country’s protracted economic crisis, the vigilantes are modern-day Robin Hoods, fighting to stop greedy banks and the cash-strapped state from auctioning off poor people’s homes to settle bad debts.
Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, and his hard-left Syriza party vowed to stop foreclosures before they surged to power two years ago. Now they are preparing to step them up.
“Tsipras has turned into a sheriff of Nottingham,” Elias Papadopoulos, a founding member of the civil disobedience group Den Plirono, said. Data released this week showed that about half Greece’s 4.3 million taxpayers owe money to the state, forcing the authorities to issue an average of 5,000 repossession orders a day last year, an 80.6 per cent increase on 2015.
Den Plirono, which means I Won’t Pay, emerged in 2012, tapping into public anger against budget cuts enforced by international lenders.
The group, a loose collective of about 10,000 members, first took to the streets to protest about road tolls and has now turned its attention to house auctions.
They gather at a courthouse in the centre of Athens, chanting slogans and blocking proceedings.
This week alone the group halted six auctions after Mr Papadopoulos and his team of activists barged into court chambers, chasing bank lawyers and notaries on to the streets.
To bypass growing protests, the government has announced that it will press ahead with online auctions.