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Greece: Brutal Police Repression of a Determined Skouries Mine Protest

Revolution-News, 11/23/2014 

AntiGoldGr Based on an article by Stavroula Poulimeni on Alterthess.gr Photos by @lolosmarios and @dromografos
B3I-SfIIAAZqE7AntiGoldGrOnce more a demonstration against Eldorado Gold’s Skouries mine in Halkidiki was met with tons of teargas by the riot police. More than 1.500 demonstrators of all ages marched to the location where Eldorado’s subsidiary, Hellas Gold, is developing a huge open-pit gold and copper mine right in the middle of what used to be a pristine forest. Approximately 180 hectares of forest have so far been cleared in order to make way for the mine, a processing plant and two monstrous tailings dams. For the past three years, the local people and the broader solidarity movement resisting the mine have faced extreme repression and penalization of their struggle. More than 300 residents of the area are facing criminal charges related to their efforts to preserve the mountain, the environment and the health of their communities.

The protest started around noon and the demonstrators took the police by surprise as they found the gate open and managed to enter the plant construction site. Within moments they were attacked by the riot police with teargas and flash-bang grenades.

skouries-epeisodia-astynomiaThe demonstrators were pushed outside and the gate was closed but the police started chasing them in the forest, firing massive amounts of teargas directly at them. But the people were determined not to leave and they managed to stay there for three hours, chanting slogans and encouraging each other as teargas canisters were dropping on their heads. The whole area was covered in a white cloud of teargas. Several protestors suffered respiratory problems and one had to be taken to the hospital. Even under these conditions, the demonstrators did not lose their sense of humour and they offered bottles of water to the riot policemen with the sign “Do not beat us. We brought you water. SOS HALKIDIKI”.

skouries-diadilosi-epeisodia-ximika

This was the first big protest after a while and it proved that the anti- gold mining movement remains strong and determined to oust Eldorado from Halkidiki. According to the press release issued by the people’s Coordinating Committee: “Once more the democratic right to protest was sacrificed on the altar of development.

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

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

26 March, 2013

keep-calm-and-save-skouries-480x560

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

Greece: As protests grew, so did the determination to stop the mining

Hooded protesters firebomb Greek mining site

AFP February 18, 2013
Hooded protesters firebomb Greek mining site

ATHENS (AFP) – Dozens of hooded men early Sunday firebombed the premises of a Greek subsidiary of a Canadian gold mining company opposed by environmentalists, injuring a guard and damaging equipment, police said.

The group of 40 to 50 men threw molotov cocktails and set fire to equipment at the Hellenic Gold site in the northern region of Halkidiki at around 1:00 am local time, damaging containers and trucks, a police source told AFP.

The site has faced opposition from citizens’ groups who fear the project will cause irreversible harm to the local environment. Continue reading