Hundreds of protesters have battled riot police for hours over plans for a gold mine in northern Greece’s Halkidiki peninsula.
Police fired tear gas to fend off protesters who had gathered in the Skouries area of Halkidiki, northern Greece, on Sunday to protest gold mining activity.
Dozens of residents of the nearby village of Ierissos, as well as protesters who arrived by coaches and cars from Thessaloniki, approached the forest in Skouries, where Hellenic Gold, a subsidiary of Canadian firm Eldorado Gold, has begun mining activity that locals are appealing against.
Protesters accused the police of making heavy use of tear gas, causing a fire in the woods, and of chopping down trees to prevent demonstrators from approaching the mine. Police say protesters threw firebombs at them, setting ablaze a forested area on the site. Either way, the fire has been put out.
There were reports of several people being arrested and detained at Ierissos police station. Several people were also injured, including SYRIZA MP Vangelis Diamantopoulos.
Hellenic Gold has been awarded an area of 26,400 hectares, of which 410 is forest land. Almost all the trees in the forest will be cut down as part of the mining firm’s plan to extract gold. The company says it will replant trees when it finishes its work.
Environmental opponents of the mine argue it would lead to the destruction of the local forest and irreversible damage to the ecosystem. Owners of local tourist lodging are also fiercely opposed due to environmental reasons.
This is not the first clash over the gold mine. Opponents succeeded a decade ago in canceling a multimillion-dollar gold mining project in a nearby area. Source
The film below, Treasure Hunt, documents that struggle. This is the first 10 minutes of the film: