Fifteen face trial after property tax protest

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Fifteen people, including the head of the Public Power Corporation’s workers’ union GENOP, Nikos Fotopoulos, face trial next Wednesday for blocking access to one of PPC’s buildings since the start of the week in a bid to disrupt efforts to collect an emergency property tax that is being levied via electricity bills. The 15 defendants -10 unionists and five activists- are all charged with obstructing the operation of a public service. According to sources, all 15 protesters had asked to be tried immediately in an apparent bid to be led to jail, which would highlight their opposition to the controversial property tax. But the trial had to be postponed until Wednesday, the sources said, as only two witnesses could be found. The arrests were made after skirmishes broke out on Thursday morning between a few dozen protesters and riot police outside the PPC branch on Mesogeion Avenue in Holargos, northeast Athens. After police broke up the protest, unionists called a 48-hour strike and vowed further action. The protests appeared to have some success. A few hours later reports emerged that the Finance Ministry was planning to increase the grace period given to homeowners to pay the property tax to 80 days from the date the bill was issued, or double the current 40 days. Ministry sources said a circular would be sent out soon and that authorities “would not cut the power of anyone that is unable to pay.” News about the amendment came as reports quoted European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger as saying that the practice of PPC cutting the electricity supply to homeowners who fail to pay the emergency tax is a violation of European directives. Ministry sources responded to Oettinger’s statement by insisting that Greece was respecting EU laws. Source: Kathimerinilast_img

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