ATHENS – Greek police using an electric saw destroyed the front door of a journalist’s apartment so the bank could confiscate her house to pay off a debt of 15,000 euros before hundreds of people gathered to try to stop it.
The reporter, Ioanna Kolovou, had been trying to stop the foreclosure as the New Democracy government is allowing primary homes to be seized and vocal crowds poured into the street to support her.
Some screamed at police, “Did Patsis send you?” in reference to a former New Democracy Member of Parliament who was booted from the party after allegations that he was involved in the purchase of bad loans from banks.
The incident could be incendiary for the administration of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis as it brought a firestorm of criticism of callousness towar the plight of people who owe relatively little while businesses who got bad loans from banks aren’t being hounded to repay.
New Democracy in 2016 owed banks 214 million euros ($219.43 million) including to the former Agricultural Bank of Greece that was obtained using taxpayer money as collateral and no explanation where the money went.
The bank collapsed and wrote off 1.8 billion euros ($1.85 billion) in bad loans with no accounting who they were and New Democracy gave immunity to loan officers in banks who can’t be prosecuted.
Kolovou said after police broke her door that they hit her on the arm and complained the banks are showing no mercy although it wasn’t said if she was offered a plan to pay back. The eviction was stopped after protests.
“It’s a sad fact that they put debtors’ houses under the hammer for 15,000 euros,” said her lawyer, reported News.It of events that galvanized supporters for her.