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

Greek pensioners march through Athens in protest over Pension Cuts


ITN

April 19, 2013 — Thousands of pensioners from across Greece flood the capital to demonstrate over cuts to their pensions.

A sea of old age pensioners from across Greece flooded into Athens on Friday (April 19) to protest against pension cuts.  Aristides Manikas, protester, said “I have grandchildren, I have great-grandchildren, and I don’t have enough money to buy them candy. It’s embarrassing. I stopped going to the coffee shop. I used to have a glass of wine, I stopped that too. There have been many dictatorships in the past, but none like this one. What’s going to happen to our children.”

Some aided by walking canes and led by a demonstrator on a motorized cart, the elderly marched through the city past the Greek parliament to the Public Administration Ministry, where they were stopped short by police.

The protesters came from cities across the country, saying they have been reduced to poverty by the pension reductions, which are as much as 15 percent.

They have also been hit by new taxes on their homes as part of the reforms, as well as cash for drugs, after the free state social insurance fund suffered medicine shortages. Continue reading

Greece: Farmer shoots 30 unpaid Bangladeshi migrant workers when they demand pay

Greece farm shooting: 30 injured in pay dispute
BBC, 18 April 2013

Migrants are employed to pick strawberries in Nea Manolada

Migrants are employed to pick strawberries in Nea Manolada, a Peloponnesian village in souther Greece.

 

About 30 migrant workers have been injured in a shooting on a strawberry farm in Greece after requesting salaries that had not been paid.

The migrants – mainly from Bangladesh – were shot at by at least one farm supervisor, in a Peloponnesian village in southern Greece.

Several of the workers have been taken to hospital but none are in a critical condition.

The owner of the farm in Nea Manolada and one foreman have been arrested.

Nea Manolada, about 260km (160 miles) west of Athens, is an area where thousands of migrant workers are employed.

Around 200 workers had gathered to request their unpaid salaries when at least one farm supervisor opened fire, reports the BBC’s Mark Lowen.

Police Captain Haralambos Sfetsos told the AP news agency that the workers had “moved threateningly” towards foremen when the shots were taken.

In addition to the two men already arrested, warrants for two further arrests have been issued.

‘Blood strawberries’

Nea Manolada has previously been in the spotlight over exploitation of migrants.

In 2008 workers staged a strike against inhumane conditions. There have also been reports of previous attacks.

A social media campaign has now been launched to boycott the fruit from Nea Manolada, calling them “blood strawberries”.

The Council of Europe – the main European human rights watchdog – issued a report this week detailing abuse against migrants in Greece.

The report warned of a growing wave of racist violence, stating that “democracy is at risk”. It highlighted the role of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.

Demonstration against Eldorado Gold’s mining projects in Halkidiki, March 25, 2013

26 March, 2013 by antigoldgreece

8611_601019476593316_2025958185_nMore 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!”.

March 25 marks the anniversary of the Greek people’s uprising against the Ottoman empire. To the  people of Halkidiki, it is also the anniversary of the first time their peaceful protest against the destruction of their land was met with teargas and police brutality. Read about the events of March 25, 2012 here (in greek).

Anti-gold mining protest at Skouries Halkidiki, March 25, 2013


(video with english subs)
 Published on Mar 26, 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!”. Continue reading

Greeks in fresh general strike against austerity

BBC News, 20 February 2013

A demonstrator tries to pass a riot police cordon during a strike in Athens (20 Feb 2013)

Tens of thousands of Greeks are taking part in the first general strike of 2013, as workers renew their protest over austerity measures.

Crowds marched towards parliament in Athens, beating drums and blowing whistles as part of the 24-hour strike.

Minor clashes broke out at one stage when police fired tear gas at hooded youths throwing stones.

The strike has been called by Greece’s two biggest trade unions, representing half the four million-strong workforce.

“We are protesting about pensions, emergency taxes, the high cost of life,” retired factory worker Kyriakos Anastassiadis told the Associated Press.

The strike shut schools and left hospitals with emergency staffing. Domestic flights and long-distance train services were cancelled.

Ilias Iliopoulos, secretary-general of Adedy public sector union, said the strike was an attempt to “get rid of the bailout deal”.

“A social explosion is very near,” he said. Continue reading

Greek pensioners protest austerity cuts

Friday Feb 15, 2013

Greek pensioners shout slogans during a march in central Athens to protest against the government’s austerity measures. (file photo)

Greek pensioners have demonstrated in Athens to protest against the government’s harsh austerity measures and highlight the consequences of the program on their life.

On Thursday, hundreds of elderly braved the heavy rain in the capital and marched to the country’s Labor Ministry to express anger at the government’s economic policies and rising unemployment, the Associated Press reported.

“We are not just talking about some problems. They are taking our lives away,” said Dimos Koumbouris, leader of Greece’s main pensioners association.

“We can’t pay our electricity bills, or the emergency taxes. We haven’t enough for our medicines, and it’s putting our lives in danger,” he added. Continue reading

Greece: Crisis-driven scapegoating, explosive growth of migrant detention

[In a mounting wave of xenophobia and fascist gangs pressing amateurish ethnic cleansing attacks,  officials are rounding up thousands of migrants.  Here, the most recent sweeps of hundreds more. -- Frontlines ed.]
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More than 400 migrants detained in latest sweep

The latest police sweep of undocumented immigrants in the capital led to 404 arrests, police said on Friday.

Authorities said six of the detainees were arrested because they were not in possession of the proper residence papers.

The sweep on Thursday included a search of four properties and was carried out as part of an ongoing crackdown on illegal immigration which has been code-named Xenios Zeus.

According to the police, 54,086 migrants have been briefly detained since the start of the sweep operation. Of these 3,994 were charged with being in the country illegally.

Source:  ekathimerini.com

Debt Crisis: Greek protesters storm meeting, attack German diplomat

Reuters, Thursday November 15 2012

PUBLIC sector workers stormed a building where Greek and German officials were meeting in the northern city of Thessaloniki today and pelted a German diplomat with water bottles in a protest over austerity measures.Riot police used teargas and truncheons to break up a crowd of 250 city employees outside the building and formed a shield around German Consul Wolfgang Hoelscher-Obermaier as he entered.Protesters chanted “It’s now or never!” and held up mock gravestones and banners proclaiming “Fight until the end!”.They said they were furious at comments by German envoy Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, who told journalists on Wednesday that Greece could do more to reform its bloated local government sector, the head of the workers’ union said.

“Experts say that as far as local government is concerned the work carried out by 3,000 Greek employees can be done by 1,000 Germans,” Fuchtel said. On Thursday he said his remarks had been misinterpreted. Continue reading

On the streets of Athens, racist attacks on rise and growing more violent

ELENA BECATOROS  Associated Press
November 12, 2012 – 4:28 am EST

In this Oct. 25, 2012, photo, Agri, a Kurd from Syria who gave only his first name, said he fled his country due to fighting a few months ago and describes in Athens how he was attacked as he walked home one recent night. Human rights and immigrant groups say there has been an increase in racist attacks in Greece over the last year, as the country struggles through a protracted financial crisis. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS, Greece — The attack came seemingly out of nowhere. As the 28-year-old Bangladeshi man dug around trash bins one recent afternoon for scrap metal, two women and a man set upon him with a knife. He screamed as he fell. Rushed to the hospital, he was treated for a gash to the back of his thigh.

Police are investigating the assault as yet another in a rising wave of extreme-right rage against foreigners as Greece sinks further into economic misery. The details vary, but the cold brutality of each attack is the same: Dark-skinned migrants confronted by thugs, attacked with knives and broken bottles, wooden bats and iron rods.

Rights groups warn of an explosion in racist violence over the past year, with a notable surge since national elections in May and June that saw dramatic gains by the far-right Golden Dawn party. The severity of the attacks has increased too, they say. What started as simple fist beatings has now escalated to assaults with metal bars, bats and knives. Another new element: ferocious dogs used to terrorize the victims.

“Violence is getting wilder and wilder and we still have the same pattern of attacks … committed by groups of people in quite an organized way,” said Kostis Papaioannou, former head of the Greek National Commission for Human Rights.

As Greece’s financial crisis drags on for a third year, living standards for the average Greek have plummeted. A quarter of the labor force is out of work, with more than 50 percent of young people unemployed. An increasing number of Greeks can’t afford basic necessities and healthcare. Robberies and burglaries are never out of the news for long. Continue reading

Greek unions protest austerity package

A riot police officer is engulfed by petrol bomb flames thrown by protesters in front of the parliament during clashes in Athens, Wednesday Nov. 7, 2012. Greece’s fragile coalition government faces its toughest test so far when lawmakers vote later Wednesday on new painful austerity measures demanded to keep the country afloat, on the second day of a nationwide general strike. The 13.5 billion euro ($17.3 billion) package is expected to scrape through Parliament, following a hasty one-day debate. But potential defections could severely weaken the conservative-led coalition formed in June with the intention of keeping Greece in the euro. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)

ATHENS, Greece, Nov. 7 (UPI) — ATHENS, Greece, Nov. 7 (UPI) — Thousands of Greeks joined protests Wednesday afternoon against a new package of cuts set for a vote in Parliament.

An estimated 70,000 people rallied at the Parliament Building in Syntagma Square in Athens, CNN reported. There were smaller demonstrations elsewhere.Melina Grigoriadou, who works for an export company, said pay cuts and higher taxes have already cost her family about one-third of their income.

“The measures just never stop. Every time, politicians say they are going to be the last measures … they are never the last,” Grigoriadou told CNN at a demonstration in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city. “There is no end in this, there’s no solution. The measures are awful — it’s not austerity, it’s something even worse.”

Unions held a second day of strikes, disrupting public transportation and other services in the country. Some mass transit resumed Wednesday in Athens so protesters could get to Syntagma Square.

The strikes were called as Parliament gets ready to consider a bill that would institute a series of painful social and financial reforms, ekathimerini.com reported. Continue reading

Greece: Classes clash in conflicting views of mining project–environment vs jobs

[News reports on the protest of a gold mining project are remarkably sparse on information.  Who, exactly, are the "leftist protesters"?  Who are the pro-mine miners?  And what capitalists are pressing for this project to be done?  So many questions, such terrible journalism.  --  Frontlines ed.]

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Hundreds of protesters have battled riot police for hours over plans for a gold mine in northern Greece’s Halkidiki peninsula

Protesters, police clash in Greece over gold mine; 4 injured, 21 detained

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
October 21, 2012

THESSALONIKI, Greece — Hundreds of protesters have battled riot police for hours over plans for a gold mine in northern Greece’s Halkidiki peninsula.

Police say one policeman and three protesters were hurt, while 21 protesters have been detained. The protesters have now withdrawn.

This is not the first clash over the gold mine, which has pitted inhabitants of the area against one another.

Owners of tourist lodging, abetted by leftist activists, are fiercely opposed because of environmental reasons, while prospective miners claim the project will create thousands of jobs at an economically difficult time. Supporters of the project staged a counterdemonstration Sunday with banners calling for “no to violence, yes to jobs.”

A multimillion-dollar gold mining project in a nearby area was cancelled a decade ago after similar protests.

Xenophoia Alert: “Anti-immigrant ‘Golden Dawn’ rises in Greece”

The rise of Greece’s Golden Dawn: Ultranationalist party raises fears as it builds a network of public aid reserved only for Greek citizens and is accused of violence against immigrants.

[Xenophobia is a most basic weapon against the working class when the capitalist and imperialist attacks are waged with great and desperate aggression.  The challenge to confront these malevolent movements, to expose their puppetmasters, and to defeat their attacks is a major challenge for the revolutionary proletariat, in Greece and everywhere. -- Frontlines ed.]

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By Anthony Faiola, Washington Post,  October 20, 2012

ATHENS — At first glance, the shop on a nondescript street in this chaotic capital looks standard-issue military. Fatigues. Camouflage. Hunting gear. Deeper inside, the political message emerges. Black T-shirts emblazoned with modified swastikas — the symbol of the far-right Golden Dawn party — are on sale. A proudly displayed sticker carries a favorite party slogan: “Get the Stench out of Greece.”

By “stench,” the Golden Dawn — which won its first-ever seats in the Greek Parliament this spring and whose popularity has soared ever since — means immigrants, broadly defined as anyone not of Greek ancestry. In the country at the epicenter of Europe’s debt crisis, and where poverty and unemployment are spiking, the surplus shop doubles as one of the party’s dozens of new “help bureaus.” Hundreds of calls a day come in from desperate families seeking food, clothing and jobs, all of which the Golden Dawn is endeavoring to provide, with one major caveat: for Greeks only.

To fulfill its promise of a Greece for Greeks alone, the party appears willing to go to great lengths. Its supporters — in some instances with the alleged cooperation of police — stand accused of unleashing a rash of violence since the party rose to national office, including the stabbings and beatings of immigrants, ransacking an immigrant community center, smashing market stalls and breaking the windows of immigrant-owned shops. Continue reading

As government, creditors near deal on further austerity, Greek unions hold new general strike

A man eats a meal from a soup kitchen organized by the Church of Greece in Athens, on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, which has been designated International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Greece is in the throes of an economic depression that has seen the economy shrink by a fifth over the past five years, while unemployment is at 25 percent, the highest in decades. The crisis has caused a major rise in homelessness, while the number of people depending on soup kitchens for sustenance has rocketed. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

NICHOLAS PAPHITIS,  Associated Press, October 18, 2012

ATHENS, Greece — Labor unions in recession-hobbled Greece are holding another general strike against a new harsh austerity program, as European leaders beset by a deep debt crisis and economic stagnation gather for a summit meeting in Brussels.

Thursday’s strike is set to close down public services and severely hamper most forms of transport — with even taxi drivers joining in for nine hours — while shopkeepers in Athens and other cities are planning to shut down for the day. It is the second general strike in less than a month.

Unions are organizing two separate marches in central Athens. Demonstrators’ ire will focus on the new belt-tightening for 2013-14, demanded by bailout creditors to release a desperately needed new rescue loan payment.

The city has seen hundreds of anti-austerity protests — many violent — over the past three years, since Greece revealed it had been misreporting key deficit figures and sank into an economic gloom so deep it has been likened to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The country is clinging to solvency with the help of two massive international bailouts worth a total €240 billion ($315 billion). To secure them, it committed to drastic spending cuts, tax hikes and reforms, aimed to cure years of profligate government spending.

But while significantly reducing budget deficits, the measures accelerated a recession that after five years is closer to a depression. By the end of next year, the economy is expected to have shrunk by about a quarter from 2008 levels. And with one in four workers out of a job, Greece has the worst unemployment rate in the 27-nation European Union.

“In general, we’re going from bad to worse,” said 85-year-old pensioner Giorgos Ierodimos. “Salaries are being reduced, pensions are being reduced, everything is getting more expensive, from food to health care to hospitals, medicines, everything. So how will people live? How will we live?” Continue reading

Germany’s Merkel arrives to protests in Greece

October 9, 2012
[Protesters gather Oct. 9, 2012, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes her first visit to Greece since the eurozone crisis began here three years ago. / Lefteris Pitarakis, AP]
by Nikolia Apostolou and Louise Osborne, Special for USA TODAY

ATHENS — Tens of thousands of protesters greeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel here Tuesday when she arrived for a meeting with Greece’s prime minister.

Demonstrators expressed anger that the Greek government must cut spending further to qualify for European aid and avoid national bankruptcy. But Merkel said after her meeting that Greece will rise from its current debt crisis with the help of Germany.

“I did not come here as a teacher giving grades,” Merkel said.

“I am convinced that although it’s tough, this path will pay off for Greece,” she said, drawing parallels to the difficulty of reforms in East Germany when it reunified with West Germany after the collapse of the Soviet Union. “Germany will be a good partner and friend along the way.”

Demonstrators marched on Syntagma Square in spite of a ban on gathering there and tried to push through barricades to voice anger at Merkel, whom they accuse of unfairly forcing Greece to slash government jobs and benefits to keep the European Union intact.

Some demonstrators threw stones and bottles. Police fired tear gas to hold them back, but violent flare-ups were isolated. Continue reading

Police clash with protesting shipyard workers in Greece

PHOTO: Protesting farmers use tractors to block the entrance of the Iraklio International Airport, Crete, Greece on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. The Cretan farmers, protesting pension cuts expected under new Greek austerity measures, attempted to block access to the airport, using tractors and other farm vehicles. Police used tear gas against the protesters who had gathered from across the island. (AP  Photo/Bastian Parschau)

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, October 04, 2012

ATHENS, Greece — Greek police clashed with shipyard workers protesting pay arrears Thursday after they broke into the Defense Ministry grounds, while hundreds of farmers on tractors tried to invade the country’s second-busiest airport on Crete during an anti-austerity protest.

Greece has been gripped by a severe financial crisis since late 2009, and waves of spending cuts and tax hikes have led to frequent strikes and demonstrations. The nation’s 3-month-old coalition government is currently preparing a major new austerity package demanded by rescue creditors.

[Protesting farmers use tractors to block the entrance of the Iraklio International Airport, Crete, Greece on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. The Cretan farmers, protesting pension cuts expected under new Greek austerity measures, attempted to block access to the airport, using tractors and other farm vehicles. Police used tear gas against the protesters who had gathered from across the island. (AP Photo/Bastian Parschau)] Continue reading