A new round of violent clashes between anti-gold protesters and police forces over the gold mining investment at Skouries, Chalkidiki, leaves between 2 and 7 policemen (accounts vary) and one protester injured. Three protesters were detained, on charges of resistance to and assault against the Police forces.
According to Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias, who visited the area in the aftermath of a February 20th arson attack against infrastructure at the mining worksite, also targeting the security guards, all foreign investments that help Greece overcome the economic crisis will be protected by the Police.
On May 23rd, police unions protested against the increased Police involvement in guarding the investment at Skouries. According to the spokesman for the National Federation of Police Officers, the 90-100 officers policing the gold mine daily since the arson attack of last February, are under serious psychological stress. In the same time, other parts of Northern Greece remain insufficiently policed, due to reduced staffing of many police stations whose officers have been deployed in Skouries.
Α recent ruling of the Council of State rejected all challenges to the environmental permit. The Court accepted that the area is not protected by EU or national law and judged that the environmental impact will not be significant.
An enduring and dynamic anti-gold movement sees the Skouries investment as proof of Greece’s “free-for-all” development policy, no matter the cost to the environment and quality of life. Anti-gold protests also reflect a widespread distrust against the Government and its promises that the environmental conditions of this and all major investments will be closely monitored.
Many European governments facing the economic downturn promote mining for gold and hydrocarbons as nature’s bonanza that will pave the way out of the crisis.
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