Greek opponents of Eldorado mine take message to company’s Canadian HQ: ‘Leave us alone’

Anti-gold mining protest — Halkidiki, March 25, 2013

More than 3.000 people chanting slogans against Eldorado Gold marched three kilometres from the village of Megali Panagia to the location where the first clash of anti-mining protestors with the riot police took place one year ago. This was the last in a series of powerful demonstrations against gold mining that took place in the last couple of weeks in Alexandroupoli, Komotini and Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, where an unprecedented 20.000 people chanted “Eldorado Gold go away now!”.

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Greek activists outside Eldorado's Vancouver headquarters May 31. [Photo: Greek activists outside Eldorado’s Vancouver headquarters May 31 / David P. Ball.]

Greek villagers brought their region’s fierce battle against Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold to the firm’s headquarters Friday, marking the end of the activists’ cross-Canada tour opposing open-pit gold mining in their homeland.

Over the past year, a growing conflict in Greece’s Halkidiki region — birthplace of the philosopher Aristotle –has seen thousands of residents blockade roads, raid mine sites, and skirmish with police they say are corrupt and beholden to the company. Another demonstration brought 20,000 protesters to the streets of Thessaloniki.

“Our will will not be curbed,” said Maria Kadoglou, a resident of Ierissos village, Greece. “We will keep on fighting until Eldorado Gold goes away.” Continue reading

Skouries: an ancient forest is Greece’s latest battle-ground

26 March, 2013

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By Theodora Oikonomides and Zoe Mavroudi, Hellenic Mining Watch – Resistance to destructive mining in Greece

Skouries is the most important Greek story you’ll rarely hear about. It’s an ancient forest in northern Greece, where a mammoth Canadian gold-mining company is staking its claim.

Gold-mining, environmental concerns, state repression, police violence and a sturdy and organized local anti-mining movement have made Skouries a veritable battle ground in Greek politics, one that has received very little international coverage, clearly overshadowed by the escalating Greek crisis.

Greek company Hellas Gold and its main shareholder, Canada’s Eldorado Gold are working towards establishing a gold and copper mine in the ancient forest of Skouries in the northern region of Halkidiki but residents of the area’s 16 villages are strongly opposed to the project and have held several demonstrations against it over the past year, many of which have turned violent. Riot police have made excessive use of tear gas even inside the forest and in the villages, while residents have accused police of detaining people on trumped up charges, physically abusing them and even taking DNA samples from them against their will. Continue reading

Chinese protesters force municipal government to back off from chemical plant plan

Living on Earth, 8 November, 2012

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[Chinese protesters, like the one pictured here, have had success recently in beating back industrial projects. (Photo by Josh Chin.)]

China’s efforts to grow its economy and its manufacturing base are meeting resistance as the country’s middle class burgeons. In Ningbo, a plan to build a petrochemical plant was beaten back by protesters in the street who say these plants are affecting their health.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Ningbo, China, recently in opposition to a petrochemical plant they feel is a danger to public health.

After three days of demonstrations, and clashes between protesters and the police, the government has called the project off — at least for now.

Ben Carlson, a journalist with the Global Post who lives in Hong Kong, said the protests started out as a series of smaller protests.

“By the time the weekend rolled around there were several thousand people in the streets,” he said. “There were reports of the protesters overturning cars, and the police arrested several of the demonstrators — that actually became one of the causes that people were demonstrating against later on.” Continue reading

China’s New Eco-Warriors

Monday 13 August 2012
Thanks to micro-blogs and the Internet spreading the word, people in China have become more and more aware of environmental issues, taking a stand against big corporations.
China's New Eco-Warriors

– (Occupy Vienna)
By Harold Thibault
LE MONDE/Worldcrunch

QIDONG – At 18-years-old, Li Wei does not look like a dissident. She is mostly focused on her studies in accountancy, her friends – with whom she is always in contact – and chatting with her sister. However, none of that stopped the young girl – who has given us a false name because of the difficult situation in her hometown of Qidong – from participating in a protest that escalated in the ransacking of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) offices.

Protesters had been gathering since sunrise on Saturday July 28 in this small town one hour’s drive north of Shanghai. As the day passed, the local government’s offices were stormed. Administration documents flew from the windows while the angered crowd grabbed at the shirt of the PCP secretary, overcome by the extent of the movement. “We have to mobilize to protect the environment, this is our hometown,” says Li Wei, sitting in the restaurant run by her parents.

Protests against polluting industries have multiplied recently due to citizens becoming increasingly aware of the ecological impacts created by economic development. Even state-run television channels are now talking about the environment as a priority in China, with young people spreading the word via micro-blogs. “People now realize that the fight against pollution is serious, as there are scarce few places in the world where industrialization is having such a heavy and direct impact on the masses,” says environmentalist Ma Jun. Continue reading

The Pentagon in Afghanistan: Wasting no time on empty talk of democracy, focusing on mineral treasures and goals

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=117330

DOD, U.S. Agencies Help Afghanistan Exploit Mineral Wealth

By Cheryl Pellerin, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2012 – Officials from the Defense Department and the U.S. Geological Survey gathered this month at Afghanistan’s U.S. Embassy to unveil what the director of a DOD task force called a “treasure map” of the nation’s mineral resources.

At the event, James Bullion of the Defense Department’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, or TFBSO, shared the podium with USGS Director Marcia McNutt, who described a new remote-sensing technology that has made it possible, for the first time, she said, to map more than 70 percent of the country’s surface and identify potential high-value deposits of copper, gold, iron, and other minerals. Continue reading

The UN, int’l agencies, and the ‘has-been’ world capitalist system admit political/economic bankruptcy at Rio+20

Some came with high hopes, others were not so sure. But all left empty handed.

Rio+20, an environmental summit whose outcome made all unhappy

By Associated Press, June 23, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO — It was hard to find a happy soul at the end of the Rio+20 environmental summit.

Not within the legion of bleary-eyed government negotiators from 188 nations who met in a failed attempt to find a breakthrough at the United Nations conference on sustainable development.

Not among the thousands of activists who decried the three-day summit that ended late Friday as dead on arrival. Not even in the top U.N. official who organized the international organization’s largest-ever event.

“This is an outcome that makes nobody happy. My job was to make everyone equally unhappy,” said Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of the conference, nicely summing up the mood.

In the end, this conference was a conference to decide to have more conferences.

That result was hailed as a success by the 100 heads of state who attended. Given how environmental summits have failed in recent years as global economic turmoil squashes political will to take on climate and conservation issues, the mere fact of agreeing to talk again in the future constitutes victory. Continue reading

Africa: Rio+20 Summit Under Corporations’ Undue Influence

18 June 2012, Friends of the Earth (London) –press release

Rio De Janeiro — On the eve of the Rio+20 United Nations Earth Summit [1] on June 20-22, Friends of the Earth International warns world leaders that multinational corporations such as oil giant Shell have an undue influence over the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

According to a briefing released today by Friends of the Earth Netherlands [2], the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell is influencing the Rio+20 Summit thanks to senior company representatives in several corporate lobbying groups active in the Rio+20 negotiations, including: the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association, the UN Global Compact, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the International Emissions Trading Association

“It is not acceptable that companies like Shell who cause massive pollution and human rights abuses should be in the driving seat of processes for sustainable development. That is a recipe for disaster for our planet and peoples. Corporate polluters should not help making laws, they should face the law,” said Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International. Continue reading