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live Five Bulgarians detained during a protest against the gold mine in Halkidiki

24 August 2015 / 11:08:20  GRReporter
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Five Bulgarian nationals were detained during yesterday's protest against the operation of the gold mine in Halkidiki, as announced by police sources for GRReporter. Having verified their personal documents, the authorities have already released some of them. The police station in Polygyros will make an official announcement later today that will specify the number of those released and arrested. In addition to Bulgarians, the protest involved German, British and Italian nationals.

The 70 protesters, or 75 according to other sources, were detained after the protest, when they were getting on a bus to leave the mountainous region of Kakavos, where the controversial Skouries field is located. The protest was organized by members of the movement against the exploitation of the gold deposits and involved residents of Halkidiki and Thessaloniki as well as members of international activist movements.

According to the Athens news agency AMNA, the protesters threw stones at the police units who dispersed them using tear gas. Then the activists lit fires and the police detained them while they were attempting to escape by the bus that had transported them to the area of ​​Skouries.

In statements to the agency, a member of the anti-power movement indicated that the police units were at a great distance from the site of the Hellenic Gold company. They did not allow the protesters to approach it, dispersing them with tear gas.

"The police surrounded the protesters and then began to chase them, catching some of those who had got onto the bus," he said.

In turn, SYRIZA representative in the regional council of Halkidiki Lazaros Toskas determined the police actions as "an ugly attack by the riot police units who chased the participants within a radius of two kilometres."

This morning, the detainees testified before the prosecutor in connection with the charges of violating public order and participating in violent protests raised against them. 74 of them were released while four, namely two women and two men refused to provide personal data and fingerprints, and to be photographed, thus facing additional charges.

The Greek government's decision to block the procedure allowing Hellenic Gold to carry out technical studies in Skouries and Olympiada has already provoked reactions among the international investment companies.

The reasons are two, as reported by the Greek economic edition The first is that Minister of Productive Reconstruction Panos Skourletis announced the withdrawal of licences on the air 24 hours before Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced early elections. The second is that the investment of the Canadian group Eldorado Gold with a budget of 1 billion euro is the largest in the sector of utilization of deposits of precious metals at a time when the Greek economy is in a state of bankruptcy.

"A casual observer would expect the Greek government to be keen to support the extraction of gold, given the employment, royalties and taxes that it brings. Surprisingly, however, this is not happening as very serious bureaucratic complications are hindering the expansion of the mines," state the representatives of the group Investec, which has a strong investor presence in the UK, South Africa and Australia.

According to the group of companies Mirabaud, "The Greek government's decision is not based on a sound legal basis to support a long-term suspension of operations. We emphasize that Eldorado has received a number of favourable decisions from the Greek Supreme Administrative Court on environmental matters and therefore, we believe that the less important technical issues will also be solved in favour of the company. However, we understand that this process will continue for months. The elections are the main reason behind the decision of the Minister of Productive Reconstruction, which aims at boosting local political support."

To be continued


Tags: Crime newsProtestGold mine in HalkidikiDetained Bulgarian nationals
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