On Saturday 12 January 2013 Syntagma Square was occupied by a different kind of protesters: villagers, ecologists, farmers came all the way from Halkidiki to demonstrate against the establishment of gold mines in their area. There were about 3000 people with imaginative pickets and slogans who remained outside the Parliament for a few hours. Previously they had visited the Canadian Embassy who, they claim, is actively promoting the enterprise because of Canadian interests.

Manolis Glezos, always present, walked for the environment

Manolis Glezos, always present, walked for the environment

"Our silence is gold for them.

“Our silence is gold for them.

The Athenian rally was the climax of a year of struggles between Hellas Gold  a company 95 percent of which is owned by Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold Inc. and the remaining 5 percent by Greek construction company Aktor and local committees opposed to the project. More information on one of the blogs created by the local residents: http://antigoldgreece.wordpress.com/

SYRIZA MPs have submitted a question in Parliament stating that the Company is not following environmental directives which state that mining and building activities cannot be carried out in areas neighbouring with NATURA 2000 protected zones, stressing that while the police are very active when faced with angry citizens they are very slow in checking the Company’s illegal activities.

What prompt me to classify the environment as the “great victim of the crisis” is the continuous efforts to “sell” all open spaces around Athens, starting with the Ellinikon area, the area that was previously occupied by the Athens Airport.  All the ecological studies that are required or should be required for interventions of that magnitude are conveniently overlooked using crisis as an alibi.

It is obvious to everyone that the Greek government is taking the easy way out. Unfortunately the destruction of the Halkidiki forests or the building up of the Ellinikon area are actions that are not reversible. They undermine the future of the country and influence the European environment as well.

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