Athens shopowners yesterday threatened the government with lawsuits unless action is taken to crack down on the thousands of illegal vendors who daily ply their wares on the capital’s streets. Athens Traders’ Association (ESA) officials told a press conference yesterday that at least 30,000 street vendors, none of whom have lawful permits to sell goods, are in business in Attica alone creating a severe drain on the clientele of local shops. According to ESA estimates, another 20,000 such traders work in the rest of the country, while illegal traders’ total turnover has risen to represent 33 percent of all retail sales. «We will table individual and collective lawsuits against the State, and if necessary we will seek redress at the European Court of Human Rights,» ESA’s chairman, Panagis Karellas, said, adding that the first of such actions would be presented in September unless the government took measures to address the problem. ESA has sent formal complaints to the prime minister, Cabinet members and the financial crimes squad.