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Clashes break out in Greece over foreclosures

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Five people were detained Wednesday during clashes between riot police and protesters attempting to disrupt a central Athens auction of foreclosed properties. Left-wing activists have stepped up protests in recent weeks against online auctions as the government remains under pressure from bailout lenders to speed up the process and ease the strain on banks stemming from a huge backlog of nonperforming loans.

The auctions are required as part of the country's international bailout, which is due to end in August. Creditors have also promised to deliver some debt relief for Greece if it fulfils all the conditions of the bailout.

The Greek government has promised to provide creditors a detailed plan next month of post-program reforms as part of the agreement to improve repayment terms. But creditors still disagree over the terms of Greek debt relief.

In Athens, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos insisted the government was determined to make a full return to markets this year. Earlier, Greece raised 812.5 million euros ($1 billion) in a 12-month treasury bill auction. The Public Debt Management Agency said the T-bills were auctioned at a yield of 1.25 percent with the target sum of 625 million euros ($772.8 million) three times oversubscribed.

Greece has relied on international bailout loans since 2010 through successive programs. Since that year, it has twice tapped bond markets for longer-term loans, while maintaining regular three- and six-month T-bill auctions.

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