The latest grassroots protests this week blocking the auction of foreclosed real estate in Greece generated an uncharacteristically sharp reaction by the association representing notaries in the greater Athens area, with the group directly charging that high-end property owned by individuals with millions of euros of debt was essentially being protected.
The association condemned what it called the "repeated attacks of self-styled 'collectives' ..." against notaries, during the procedure to auction off the foreclosed properties, which are not "in any way" primary residences.
Various loosely connected groups emanating from the country's anti-capitalist, anti-austerity and even self-proclaimed anarchist fringe have blocked property auctions over the past few years in Greece.
Associations of notaries, as well, have often opposed the auction of small-scale debtors' primary residences, causing the government to plan the electronic auction of such properties.
Notaries in Greece are law school graduates who pass the bar and then specialize in drawing up contracts and keeping a registry of real estate transactions they undertake.
"We declare that the holding of auctions is part of our institution duty, which we will continue to exercise," the announcement stated.
According to the association, one blocked auction, by "activists", involved a residence in the posh Psychiko municipality of north-central Athens. The property belongs to the "scion of a well-known family of industrialists, for debts of above 1.2 million euros", the association claimed.
Another blocked auction involved commercial real estate in the central Athens industrial district of Rouf, owned by a businessman for debts exceeding two million euros, which are related to a non-serviced bond loan.
The association warned that from now on it will announce which auctions have been blocked by every Wednesday, as well as "the sums owed by our 'distressed fellow citizens and debtors' ... people who need (bankruptcy) protection".