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(en) France, Organisation Communiste Libertarie (OCL) Greece in struggle - Skouries: an ancient forest has become the latest battleground in Greece (fr) [machine translation]

Date Thu, 11 Apr 2013 10:49:32 +0300

The struggle of a few thousands of villagers against the imposition of destructive gold mining in northern Greece radicalized and expands. It is becoming the main focus of protest and insubordination across the country. ---- The violent imposition of this project on the part of the Greek state is the major factor in the escalation. ---- "If the government decided to transform the Chalkidiki in a laboratory of violence and repression to export them to the rest of the country, the people of Halkidiki have decided to make a laboratory for the freedom and combat. And this fight is something for which we should all be ready. " ---- We have already spoken of the struggle here in northern Greece with a population against the excavation and operation of a gold mine in the forest Skouries in the Chalkidiki peninsula, a hundred kilometers east of Thessaloniki.

Without necessarily sharing everything it contains, here is an article that has the merit of summarizing the current situation quite well in this fight.
few information and additional considerations are following, including the legal consequences of sabotage carried out in the night from 16 to 17 February.

Skouries: an ancient forest has become the latest battleground in Greece

Zoe and Theodora by Oikonomides Mavroudi

Skouries is the largest Greek history which you have rarely heard. It is an ancient forest in northern Greece, where a Canadian company, giant gold mining claims his rights. Gold mines, environmental concerns, state repression, police violence and anti-mine local solid and organized Skouries have made a real battlefield in Greek politics, a battlefield that has yet received very little international coverage, clearly overshadowed by the escalation of the Greek crisis.

Hellas Gold Greek society and its major shareholder, Canadian Eldorado Gold together to create a wealth of gold and copper in the ancient forest Skouries in the northern region of Halkidiki, but the inhabitants of 16 villages the region oppose closing the project and made several demonstrations against him during the past year, many of which are concluded violently. The riot police made excessive use of tear gas even within the forest and in the villages, while residents have accused the police of arresting people on false charges, abusing them physically and proceeding even at sampling DNA against their will.

" Halkidiki became a black hole in the geography of Greece. It is a place in this country where the Constitution has been transformed into a piece of paper, where the rule of law has collapsed, where human rights are violated on a daily basis , "said Dina Daskalopoulou, a journalist Journal Editors' [ÎÏÎÎÎÏÎÎÎ ÏÏÎ ÎÏÎÏÎÎÏÏÎ / Efimerida your Sindakton], the only Greek daily organized cooperative owned by its staff. Daskalopoulou spoke in an interview on the radio Radiobubble.gr , an independent collective of citizen journalists who covered the story closely and realized Skouries events last year.
Daskalopoulou issued a disturbing account of what might welfare state repression against the more organized movement in this country. She said that the houses of the inhabitants were monitored by the State Security, the phones were tapped and detentions become the norm, often by targeting residents with disabilities and students. "I think the state has a comprehensive plan with respect to the local population. It has launched an operation to terrorize them. Thereby selecting what he thinks is the easiest to break their resolve. '

It is not difficult to understand why there is so much tension in this little corner of Greece. To start, Skouries is a region with a long history of mining dating back to Alexander the Great. More recently, in the 1980s, an attempt by the Canadian company TVX Gold from a mine in the area failed after scientists some of the largest institutions of Greece as Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the House Technical Greece warned residents that this investment would lead to unprecedented ecological disaster polluting the area of ââ317 square kilometers (31,700 ha), land, sea, air and water would make their villages uninhabitable.

Today, nearly thirty years later, Hellas Gold and Eldorado have a plan that raises similar concerns. They want to dig a pit in the middle of the open forest Skouries in the mountains Kakavos, which is also the main source of fresh water throughout the region. According to its own estimates of the company, the open pit will produce 3,000 tons of toxic dust per hour. Galleries will be excavated to a depth of 700 meters, placing the mine below the sea level, so that even water would not be contaminated by heavy metals and other toxic substances from the mine, would certainly polluted seawater In addition, a tunnel 9 km long that will link two sites bisect a line of geological fault which caused a devastating earthquake in the region in 1932. Finally, an ore processing plant will be built in the mountains where the gold will be separated from other substances. The company says it will be done without using cyanide, but this method has not proven effective in the gold ore Skouries. This raises additional concerns about the possible use of cyanide in the forest.

The current operation has sought to ignore these concerns had little effect and environmental concerns are a part. One reason is that the circumstances in which mining has been decided are questionable.
few days after the businessman Fotis Bobolas created Hellas Gold in 2003 with a starting capital of only â 60,000, the Greek State bought the rights to use the TVX Gold for $ 11 million and immediately sold to Bobolas 11 million euros, not winning anything in the process. In a few months, Hellas Gold was purchased by 95% European Goldfields, another Canadian company was in turn absorbed during a friendly takeover by Eldorado Gold.
Such transactions connected with police repression and the State to ensure continued preparations for the start of mining in the region have reinforced the anger and the organization of local protest. A year ago, in March 2012, things have reached their peak when the mining company sent its workers into the mountains to dismantle a protest camp set up by activists mine on the planned location of the mine site. The ensuing protests were violently suppressed by riot police. The situation has continued to worsen until last February, when a group of 40-50 people in the region conducted an arson attack on the main site of the company Skouries, burning all the equipment they Found on site before retiring.

The authorities have launched a series of raids after arson attack - a common police practice in Greece - and have since arrested 154 people while launching a police raid in the village of Ierissos, a town of 3,000 inhabitants in the center of protest. Daskalopoulou told Radiobubble.gr the church bells to alert villagers frequently arrests or police presence.
In one case, a young mother of two was detained for 16 hours without a lawyer or call to his family and without charge. She was interrogated by the police in charge of the "folder" that asked if she thought her husband was cheating.
A girl aged 15 was called by the State Security on his cell phone to make it a "testimony." The police frequently requested DNA samples from people who were simply called to testify. "In some cases, the police have taken DNA samples by force and forced the inmate to sign a statement saying that they gave willingly " said Daskalopoulou.
alarming In one case, four young people, aged 19-22 years, were visited in the early morning hours of security agents of the State asked them to follow them to the police station for an unspecified reason. Arrived at the police station, they were separated. Daskalopoulou interviewed one of them recently, the son of a policeman, who said he had been left without water for hours and interrogated about his political beliefs and participation in events. He was then slapped and beaten. "Every half hour, they stopped beating him, put him up and forced him to look at a wall, so that it can better reflect and tell them where he was that night" Daskalopoulou adds. "And then they came back and it lasted between six and seven hours. At the end, a dozen of them barged into the room and demanded that he give his DNA " . Young was then forced to sign a document saying he had given his DNA voluntarily. A policeman told him later: "Go now, your village is under siege. If you want to reduce your case and that of your town, give us a few names. " When he refused, he was threatened to be used in a game of "ping-pong". "Ping-pong meant they would throw it across the room while treating anarchist and worthless. This boy is 19 years old. '

But the violence has not only been used as an intimidation tactic behind the closed doors of police stations. March 7, 2013, riot police were deployed in Ierissos and arrested five people. The research was conducted with the unity of the anti-terrorism was heavily armed. "They sprayed the village people with chemicals for hours. Tear gas even fell inside the school. Three children had a panic attack, other respiratory problems. The ambulance tried to go but could not. Even a baby ten months had to be transported to the hospital, " said Daskalopoulou.

A student demonstration called to commemorate the attack last month in the school took place last week in the region. Such events, as well as other large peaceful demonstration against the mines that brought together 20,000 people in Thessaloniki shortly after the attacks, and was the first protest televised in Greece show that the movement is far from weaken.

Instead, the region has become the scene of the main field of political divisions in Greece, a sort of symbol of the need to resist the control of powerful monopolies of the state as well as the liquidation of assets Greek and natural resources.
Daskalopoulou says a recent demonstration in support of the mine was staged and she was described as having been an event almost comically extravagant and bringing together the right politicians and representatives of organizations marginal. According Daskalopoulou, events organized by the residents themselves are followed by trade unionists and leftist politicians by the main opposition party SYRIZA. At the same time, in a press conference held last week in Greece, Eldorado Gold reported that it was reconsidering its plans referring to an unstable climate for investment due to reactions during . 'If the government decided to transform the Chalkidiki in a laboratory of violence and repression to export them to the rest of the country, the people of Halkidiki have decided to do a lab for freedom and combat. And this fight is something for which we should all be ready " concluded Daskalopoulou.

The March 25, 2013

Original: HERE

[Translation: OCLibertaire]

Resistance to gold mines, the spearhead of social rebellion in modern Greece

The struggle of the people of northern Greece against mining gold is becoming one of the main conflicts in the country. And indeed, a laboratory of state repression and popular resistance to the violent imposition of a devastating project.
obstinacy of the resistance of the inhabitants of the region Skouries in the Halkidiki peninsula, the extent of the repression and the diversity of modes of action used by the opponents, the emergence of new centers of opposition in two other regions of northern Greece (Thrace and Macedonia) are threatened by similar projects, solidarity and diffuse sympathy that meets resistance far beyond the few villages directly affected, and which reflected the magnitude of the event in Thessaloniki was attended by nearly 20,000 people on March 9, information on the fight begins to pierce the wall of media silence, solidarity initiatives in Athens and across the country, make it a political symbol currently growing in the Greek social and political context. Sustained and continuous mobilizations, which were extended again March 25, independence day with traditional patriotic parades, where high school students from the region marched in ranks, as it must, with all t black-shirts on which was written "Tear Gas in school - March 7, 2013" or "SOS Chalkidiki" .

This struggle is a sign that part of society, despite a crisis that is supposed to discipline and anesthetize the entire population, especially those who have only their labor to live, do not let it go, do let himself be bought by promises of jobs or economic benefits mirobolantes, do not let impose destructive projects for the profits of a few, it remains alive resists standing up to intimidation and police repression.
A struggle is to copy it manages to pass the spirit of rebellion in other foci of resistance: the struggles of employees (health, psychiatry, social security, education, transport, broadcasting ...) those students, the mobilizations in support of migrants and refugees foreign centers against "retention" (detention) - where migrants are detained for months in overcrowded, unhygienic, but walks ... - and police violence taking place (currently against the Drapetsona, near Piraeus, located inside a police station), the mobilizations against the questioning of jus soli for children of immigrants; spontaneous actions against the extreme right ( recently the inhabitants of the island of Thassos in northern Greece have prevented the neo-Nazis to distribute food and essential commodities "exclusively for the Greeks" as they are used and hunted; in the port of Chania in Crete, the local candidate of the neo-Nazi party was thrown into the sea after he and his cronies have physically assaulted strangers ...), the nascent movement against the threatened closure of 35 cultural spaces in Athens ...

This fight also begins to leave Greece. A professional journal online specialized mining mining.com , so does state that protests growing multinational Canadian mining subject, either in Canada or in a dozen other countries, particularly Greece, Colombia (important mobilizations in the area of Bucaramanga and other parts of the country), Nicaragua, Peru, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Israel ... In the latest demonstration against the TAV in Val Susa a banner displayed solidarity with the struggle against the gold mines in Greece.

But if the resistance of the inhabitants of the region Skouries against gold mining is so important, the Greek State is well aware and deploys to choke a whole repressive arsenal, aided by a large part of the media (print, radio, TV) in the hands of the capitalist class magnates (and if necessary by inviting journalists to a pleasure trip of four days in luxury hotels in Greece and Izmir in Turkey as just done Eldorado Gold), to neo-Nazis in which the workers' union Hellas Gold went to get support without complex.

A concern evident in the pro-mining camp which is expressed in a recent statement by a representative of Hellas Gold saying that the company could abandon the project if the hostility persisted, but was denied a few days later by the Vice President of Eldorado Gold in Greece claiming that his "company came to Greece to stay" .

But nothing is played. Especially with the onset of protests against other projects in the area of ââPerama Hill (north-eastern Thrace) and that of Kilkis, Macedonia (between Thessaloniki and the Bulgarian border). In Thrace, the president of the company has announced that 30 employees had been dismissed and that the project was frozen until the investment framework in Greece becomes clearer. Finally, a caveat: these three areas are not very far apart from each other, the direct matches between players are relatively easy to organize and it is potentially very northern Greece and is directly concerned can jointly mobilize .

Saturday, April 13 at 18h, simultaneous mobilization under the slogan "SOS Chalkidiki" are called in the four corners of the country coordination committees of struggle against the gold mines of Chalkidiki. First.

April 7, 2013

Legal situation after the bombing of February 17 the construction of the mine Skouries.

Accused of terrorism!

Thessaloniki - Accused terrorist! Twenty fathers appointed by the Public Security Thessaloniki as responsible for the attack Skouries were charged half of the offenses found in the Criminal Code. Prosecutor Chalkidiki Magdalini Galatali, asked yesterday the opening of criminal proceedings for seven and eleven minor offenses to serious crimes load officials and forwarded the case to the judge.

Among the crimes attributed to them, association to commit a crime, attempted murder, robbery, illegal possession and use of explosive materials, arson and aggravated damage (on the basis of the Law on the "hoods" of Dendias the Minister of Public Order). And also: detention and illegal use of weapons, threats and other offenses.

To report that the procedure was initiated in rem [on the facts submitted], the charges are not individual at this stage, but will be assigned to each examined during the investigation of the instruction. In addition, there has not been an arrest warrant issued, because it is people who live in the region stable and for which there is no danger of flight course abroad.

In legal circles, it was estimated that the issuance of an arrest warrant would cause new tensions in the local community, while, in this way, the charges will be gradually allocated to individuals and hang as a "sword of Damocles "over the heads of the accused, limiting further protests against mining ...

In the coming days, the judge will make accusations and call those involved to submit as part of preliminary investigations, obviously deciding their fate as appropriate. According to reports, the position of two of the twenty people is particularly serious because, according to police in Thessaloniki, as it pertains to the folder, there are serious indications of their participation in the arson attack on site. It seems may have been discovered by police laboratories criminal elements that aggravate their position.

The reaction of the group of lawyers who defend people was immediate. In their statement to the newspaper Ef.Syn they state: "The charges will probably be assigned are not based on objective factors, but only on the testimony of three employees of the company as well as some analysis of telephone listings. We therefore consider rigged ... In addition, we question the validity and originality of the few elements as it targets available. People struggle continues " .

Nikos Fotopoulos

The March 27, 2013

EfSyn (Efimerida your Sindakton - Journal Editors)

Published articles on the same subject

Sabotage the site of a gold mine http://oclibertaire.free.fr/spip.php?article1314

The fight against the gold mines and repression intensified in northern Greece

Photos: http://oclibertaire.free.fr/spip.php?article1338
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