Protestors object to foreclosure auctions

NORWALK, Calif. Every weekday on the steps of the courthouse in Norwalk, dozens of people huddle together hoping to find a real estate deal in the latest foreclosure auction.

Thursday, the auctioneers had to be a bit louder to be heard over a protest against their auctions. More than 24 demonstrators showed up who want the federal government to help keep people in their homes by putting a moratorium on foreclosures.

"There are millions of people who are losing their homes, going to be foreclosed, so we have to stop this immediately. We have to stop the bloodletting. There needs to be a two-year moratorium on these foreclosures," said John Parker, an organizer with the /*Bail Out The People Movement*/.

The Bail Out the People Movement organized Thursday's protest with the hopes of drowning out the foreclosure auctions. They see the auction process, the bidding and barking, as a feeding frenzy that preys on the poor.

"These sharks come here, piranhas, and they buy the homes of these people," said Martha Rojas.

But the people taking part in these auctions say they're not the villains, that the protestors are misguided and that any type of moratorium will just put off the problem of foreclosures and maybe encourage other people to stop making payments.

"The homeowners have been, in many cases, living in the place for a year and a half or two years without making a payment," said auctioneer Kyle Speer. "How long do you do that before you finally say, 'Enough, we've got to foreclose'?"

"I have to pay my mortgage, they should pay their mortgage and that's why the houses are being auctioned off. Because they're defaulting their mortgage," said Richard Bartz, who was bidding on homes.

And those defaults continue to pile up.

New surveys show Southern California leads the country in its sheer number of foreclosures.

A race to the bottom that often ends on the courthouse steps.

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