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Gold mining in Halkidiki, Greece: Local people’s voice will not be silenced

Committees Against Gold Mining in Halkidiki, Greece

21 February 2013

Halkidiki, Greece – We are residents of Halkidiki, Greece, members of the local communities that have being struggling for years against the environmental, economic and social destruction, caused by the gold mining activities of the Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold Corp. Despite the scientific warnings for the catastrophic impacts and the pending decision of the Council of State, the company has started the destruction causing already irreversible damages.

The vast majority of local people – and not only – clearly stands against gold mining. The absurdity that is called “development”, creates temporary jobs while permanently destroying thousands of others. The economy of Halkidiki is based on tourism, agriculture, livestock, fisheries and apiculture, activities that will be, literally, vanished from the presumed development investment.

For many years, we have fought through peaceful marches of thousands of citizens, demonstrations and informative events in Halkidiki, Thessaloniki and Athens, and we have been deliberately excluded from the media. Although we have experienced police arbitrariness and violence, our movement remains peaceful and does not endorse practices of violence.

The event of Sunday 17/2 at Skouries, is a result of the violent practices and management by the State, police and economic interests and the instigators should not be sought among us. Our fight is righteous, legitimacy is on our side, and we will continue unabated until vindicated.

Today, an attempt to criminalize our protests and to silence and intimidate us, is emerging. It aims to break the morale of all the inhabitants of Halkidiki, who oppose the destruction. Our everyday life is raped. We were presented as criminals, even terrorists, in order the public opinion to be turned against us. In Greece in 2013, is it a criminal offense to publicly express your opinion and oppose to the destruction of the country and your life? The truth is raped, our land and our lives are raped.

The police practices have overcome any sense of legality, constitutionality and morality: continuous police patrols, monitoring and terrorizing of citizens (among them children and elderly people), strong secret police presence, massive, random and illegal arrests, illegal genetic material (DNA) sampling, long and unjustified detention by the police. The latest incident is the “abduction” of two fellow citizens by the police, who were taken around noon Wednesday (20/2) and their fate was unknown till late at night. Lawyers and relatives were denied any information on their whereabouts.

We believe that this practice does not aim at finding the perpetrators of the events on Sunday 17/2 at Skouries, but is used as a unique opportunity to terrorize people who are opposing to the plans of Canadian Eldorado Gold in N. Halkidiki.

We call the Greek government, political parties and Members of the Greek Parliament and any institutional body mandated to safeguard legality, to protect the citizens’ democratic and human rights. We invite organizations and citizens in solidarity to our struggle to protect our rights to health, life and the future of our region. We call on all, to support the struggling residents of Halkidiki, Greece against destructive gold mining, state terrorism, violent repression, police arbitrariness, silencing and criminalizing of all forms of protest.

Protest rally: Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 11.00, Megali Panagia, Halkidiki. Greece

Press conference: Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 13.00, Megali Panagia, Halkidiki. Greece

Committees Against Gold Mining in Halkidiki, Greece

soshalkidiki.wordpress.com

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