Ten­sion rises at Sk­ouries amid ri­val demos

Dozens de­tained at protests for and against gold mine in last cou­ple of days

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Two union­ists rep­re­sent­ing min­ers at the Sk­ouries gold mine were re­leased yesterday a few hours af­ter be­ing ar­rested at protests in fa­vor of the pro­ject, which has been sus­pended by the gov­ern­ment.

The union lead­ers were ar­rested in Halkidiki af­ter hun­dreds of work­ers or­ga­nized two road­blocks to draw at­ten­tion to their plight. El­do­rado, the com­pany that owns the mine, has said it might have to sus­pend some 2,000 em­ploy­ees af­ter the gov­ern­ment re­fused to ac­cept a tech­ni­cal study for the pro­ject.

The men were charged with dis­rupt­ing trans­porta­tion yesterday and re­leased, while protesters later lifted the road­blocks.

Their ar­rests came a day af­ter po­lice took 78 peo­ple into cus­tody at a demon­stra­tion against the mine. Po­lice said they came un­der sus­tained at­tack from some protesters on Sun­day that in­cluded more than 40 Molo­tov cock­tails and var­i­ous other mis­siles. Of­fi­cers said the ac­tivists also formed burn­ing bar­ri­cades with tires and branches. Author­i­ties said 69 of those de­tained were for­eign na­tion­als.

Four were or­dered de­ported. The oth­ers face a range of charges that in­cludes breach­ing the peace and civil dis­obe­di­ence.

The Sk­ouries mine has long been a source of fric­tion be­tween author­i­ties and res­i­dents, as well as ac­tivists from out­side the area. Al­ter­nate Min­is­ter for Cit­i­zens’ Pro­tec­tion Yian­nis Panousis warned in April that the fes­ter­ing ill-feel­ing could soon lead to a loss of life.

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