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(en) France, Organisation Communiste Libertarie OCL [Greece fight] - Sabotage the site of a gold mine (fr) [machine translation]

Date Wed, 20 Feb 2013 17:20:16 +0200


In the early hours of Sunday, February 17, 2013 incendiary attack was carried out on a construction project at Mont Kakavos in the Halkidiki peninsula (100 km east of Thessaloniki, in northern Greece), where facilities are mining company Hellenikos Chrysos (or Hellas Gold "Greek Gold"), a 95% subsidiary of the Canadian multinational El Dorado Gold. These two mining companies, with the support of the Greek State, seeking to exploit a gold mine in the mountainous region of the forest Skouriès. ---- The fire occurred when fifty masked people stormed the yard fenced and set fire to containers used as offices, vehicles (pickups, vans ...), generators, bulldozers and other machinery of the mining company. The company had entrusted the monitoring area to a private security firm. As soon as the guards they saw the group of people get into the fenced area, they started running and fled.

According to police, two guards were tied up while the other ten fled. The attackers were left on the site on foot, by placing logs across the road to slow the arrival of police and firefighters.

Police arrested 33 people in the Sunday which were released except one, a man of 54, living in the area and known for his commitment against the gold mines. Sunday held a rally in the center of the village Ierissos to protest against the arrests.

This is clearly an act of violence against-(physical) violence of capital and the state that have not the slightest scruple to plunder and destroy the environment of Halkidiki and all the country to make profits. For over a year, locals frontally opposed to plans to open gold mines face repression and fighting hard against the destruction of their lands and forests for gold mines and other metals.

A proposed gold mine devastating

A few days ago Hellas Gold mining company asked the Forest Service of the province in 1754 hectares of forest for its mining activities. In the area claimed by the corporation run three streams that provide water to all villages and hamlets neighbors. Note that most of the 317 square kilometers already granted and regardless of the additional area claimed, the consequences of mining gold for the waters of the region will be enormous (cyanide, other heavy residues, water use ), not to mention air pollution, in particular the distribution of rock components such as arsenic. In the already granted more than 300 hectares of forest of oaks and beeches should be destroyed.

Eldorado Gold is extracting 50,000 ounces of gold (1.5 tons) each year until 2015 in this area. The requested extension would increase production to 170,000 ounces Site (5.28 tons) per year from 2018. With other concessions in the peninsula, production could exceed 12 tons of gold per year. With soaring gold prices (up 543% in twelve years), appetites have no limits.

This is a draft open pit (crater 700 meters in diameter and 220 m deep), with a processing plant and tailings which the multinational is also adding piercing the ground up 700 meters deep where she hopes to find 0.18 grams of gold per tonne of soil. In addition, the company expects to exploit other ores of lead, zinc, copper, silver. It promises to hiring 1,500 people from 2015 to the three sites of the peninsula, excluding guards, the employment argument is the only one opposed to the opponents.

Ten years ago, under the pressure of popular mobilization, the Supreme Court, the highest court in the country, stated that the economic issues of the project were no environmental damage. A few months later, an accident at the facility Stratoni (near the coast), caused a leak of toxic waste into the sea company went bankrupt ... but then six months later, the government revoked the bankruptcy, acquired the right of exploitation for the ridiculous sum of 11 million euros in 2011 ... and restarted the project by granting licenses which were canceled for the same ridiculously low price, especially when he said that the more formally gold reserves of the region are estimated at 20 billion dollars (1800 times!). The lucky recipient of the largesse of the state, some Bobolas, media mogul, friend and supporter of the plan is also the owner of a construction company, Aktor, now with 5% of the capital of Hellas Gold. The amount that is spent nearly 200 times its initial investment. The crap mining not prevent giving gifts to friends.

The company already operates El Dororado two Gold mines, Opympiadas (Halkidiki) and Perama (Thrace). And has three other sites operating in the region: Piavitsa, Fisoka, Tsikara.

June 29, 2012, a regional administrative institution of Macedonia-Thrace had imposed the cessation of activities following complaints from several environmental groups who denounced a project detrimental to the forest ecosystem.

In late July, the Greek Council of State authorized Eldorado Gold to exploit the gold mine, annulling the decision of the regional authority and contradicts its own 2002 decision.

Obstinate opposition movement

In response, an event is convened on August 5 where demonstrators (villagers and supporters) are shot by rubber bullets. Since the summer, the staff of the riot police are stationed permanently in the area, dams and barbed wire were erected to block access to sites.

For over a year, a very combative movement of opposition to mining has grown throughout the region, organized by local committees coordinated control of the northern part of Greece, other regions are concerned as that of Komotini (Rodopi, towards the Bulgarian border), Perama (towards the Turkish border) and also to Kilkis (Macedonia) north of Thessaloniki. They opposed the project during the preliminary investigation environmental impact in autumn 2010. They quickly warned that they do not respect the favorable decision by the government, they would not allow the installation of the multinational and they oppose by blocking roads and other means to start works.

But this opposition movement faces a cons-movement in favor of mine, "Citizens (municipality) Aristotle" upon which the town of Ierissos, the miners mobilized by their management and their union, thugs posing as workers who strike the protesters said they were attacked ... and a radio-TV-press written almost entirely against the opposition movement.

In March 2012, fighting has intensified. Three successive manifestations of local villagers and supporters were organized thugs and repressed by the company and by the police and several protesters were injured, one seriously.

First on March 20 during an attempt to block a team of archaeologists and workers followed the occupation of the village hall of Ierissos. A gang of thugs attacked demonstrators and a monitoring station installed by the opponents had been destroyed by the cops.
Then on March 25 at a rally in the town square followed by a march towards motorized localities directly affected by the project (Megali Panagia, Skouriès ...) where protesters clashed with police various devices.

Then on March 30 when thousands of demonstrators were besieging the city of Ierissos (favorable to the project), barricades were erected around the square and clashes were widespread in the resort until morning. Cars of the mayor and his deputies were destroyed during the municipal team, who refused to discuss the topic of the gold mine, found itself besieged in the town hall, whose electricity had been cut. Throughout the evening and into the night, the village population increased with the arrival of other villagers, including Megali Panagia, held this small town of 3000 inhabitants. Only the arrival of police reinforcements of riot police in Thessaloniki on the stroke of 2am helped restore order charging the protesters, tear gas and swinging occupying the entire center of the village. A little later in the night, around 3:30, police exfiltrated the city hall and the mayor's henchmen and his political camp they were taken out of the city in vans.
After the events of the summer, the mobilizations continued.

On 11 September 2012, a demonstration site was violently attacked by the police while another event involving thousands of people took place in Thessaloniki.
On October 21, a new manifestation of two thousand people in the forest Skouriès: 2 injured and 21 people arrested: 14 of them are charged with "rebellion". At the same place, protected by riot police, about 250 minors were grouped behind a banner "Violence is not a solution" and demonstrating for the mine.
On October 25, thousands of protesters gather in Polygyros (prefecture of Chalkidiki) to demand the dropping of charges against protesters arrested four days before. The trial was then postponed to 14 February 2013.
November 24, 5000 people in the streets of Thessaloniki.
January 12, Athens, nearly 2,000 people (most of which came from the north of the strike) protested against mining, the same day that nearly 10,000 people demonstrated to call the various realities organized the area libertarian / anti-authoritarian against evictions of squats (see The Battle for squats in Athens )
February 14 scheduled for trial 14 of the 21 people arrested on October 21. He was sent to 11 November 2013.
February 18, 2013
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