photos: Alexandros Michailidis
text: Dina Batzia
date: 21 Oct 2012
location: Skouries, Halkidiki
Conflicts, arrests and injuries was the scenery of the protest in Skouries yesterday, where hundreds residents and supporters gathered to protest gold mining activity.
From the morning yesterday committees struggle against the gold mines in Halkidiki started protest and 6 km march to Skouries. Several hundreds of residents of the nearby village of Ierissos, as well as protesters who arrived by coaches and cars from Thessaloniki and the rest of northern Greece, approached the forest in Skouries.
Skouries is located in the eastern Chalkidiki peninsula, northern Greece and is the place where Hellenic Gold, a subsidiary of Canadian firm Eldorado Gold, has begun mining activity that locals are appealing against.
Protesters concerned that the recent endorsement of gold mining will bring great damage to forestland in Halkidiki. On July 24, the Council of State ruled that company Hellenic Gold would be allowed to start digging in Skouries, in order to reduce unemployment in the region. Almost all trees in the forest area allotted to the Hellenic Gold company will be cut down for the gold mining.
Riot police blocked the protesters from approaching the mine and fired tear gas. 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 facilities.
There are reports of at least two injured protesters and 21 arrests. Until late at night, residents have surrounded the Polygyros police station in solidarity to the arrested.