NEWS

Online campaign against tax hikes

A tide of public exasperation against a seemingly endless series of tax hikes by the government, most recently a new levy on property heralded over the weekend, is finding expression online, chiefly on social networking and microblogging sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Several groups have already sprung up on Facebook and have attracted a significant, though not yet extraordinarily large, following.

One Facebook group called ?I won?t pay any special taxes? had attracted 21,872 ?likes? by late Thursday.

A Facebook page with the title ?I won?t pay? bore a long list of angry messages by reluctant taxpayers on Thursday. ?I prefer them to cut my power, I?m not paying,? reads one entry, referring to the ministry?s warning that tax dodgers will risk having their electricity cut. (The new property tax is to be added to electricity bills in a bid to limit tax evasion.)

Although online campaigns and initiatives do not always translate into actual action, the development is reportedly of concern to authorities who were seriously inconvenienced by a ?Won?t pay? movement that emerged early this year, involving hundreds of leftist protesters refusing to pay for public transport or road toll charges. The movement was formed as a reaction to steep hikes in toll fees and tickets for public transport. Greece?s ?Indignant? movement of anti-austerity protests was also born from an online campaign.

In a related development, a number of new websites have appeared encouraging people not to pay their taxes, arguing that the new charges are illegal and violate the Greek Constitution.