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Gold mines in Halkidiki split the residents

11 April 2013 / 17:04:01  GRReporter
4159 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

The fight for the exploitation of the gold deposits in Halkidiki continues for the third consecutive month. Yesterday, the residents of Ierissos broke into the local police station in protest against the arrest of two of their fellow villagers accused of the attack on a site of the company "Hellenic Gold" on 17 February. Then, a group of people with covered faces attacked the employees of the security firm and damaged cars, machinery and buildings.

The authorities apprehended a builder, aged 44 and a trader of timber and fodder, aged 33. Members of the special police forces carried out the arrests in the presence of a prosecutor early in the morning. By order of the regional prosecutor, the two detainees were taken to the police station in Thessaloniki, due to fears of clashes outside the courthouse in Polygyros, which is responsible for the region of Halkidiki.

According to sources, police laboratories found out during the investigation that the biological material of one of the captured matches the findings on a hat, which was found about a kilometre away from the place of the attack. The police found at the other detainee’s house a carbine for which the ballistics tests have shown that it was used by the attackers. It is stated in a report in Ethnos newspaper that the police called the builder, aged 44, twice in order for him to give information about his whereabouts during the night of the attack. He replied twice that he had been at home. The check of his mobile phone signal proved that at that particular time, he had been at the site of the company in Skouries.

Despite the measures of the judicial authorities, the residents of Ierissos went to Thessaloniki to protest outside the police station against the arrest of the two men. At the same time, other angry fellow citizens of theirs broke into the local police station.

photo: ethnos.gr

The man, aged 44, was also arrested during a police raid in early March, when violent clashes erupted between the residents and the police. The residents set fire to tires and the police used tear and asphyxiating gas to disperse them. The police arrested three people along with him as they had found at their houses nine rifles, bombs and radio stations and seized them.

The arrests were carried out at three o'clock in the morning. According to relatives of the captured and residents of Ierissos, the police officers broke down the entrance door in the first case and entered through the back door in the other exercising violence before their wives and children.

The official opinion of the police is that the police opened the doors by force because the owners did not open them, despite the fact that they had been informed of the presence of a prosecutor.

For their part, the villagers are convinced of the innocence of the detained and accuse the police of using gratuitous violence. Mary Christianou, a member of the coordination board of the protests in Ierissos, presented the developments for GRReporter:

"At about 03:15 am, heavily-armed police forces broke down the doors of the detainees’ houses. None of them resisted, they pulled them straight out of their beds. During the raid, they did not allow any of the relatives to call, fearing that it would raise the village. Church bells rang at 3:30 am, when the police had already left and taken the detained in an unknown direction. At 8:00 am, we were already outside the court in Polygyros, where they should have taken them. It took us a long time to find out that they had taken them to Thessaloniki. Shortly after 2:00 pm, we decided to go to the police station there. We waited for hours until their lawyers finally informed us that they would testify on Sunday."

Photo: ethnos.gr

She said that she did not have detailed information about the damage to the police station, but said that as far as she knew, there had been no people inside. The police itself announced that they had emptied the station due to fears of clashes and taken with them their official weapons and particularly important documentation.

"Until recently, the people in Ierissos were convinced that the only task of the police was to protect them. But the actions of the authorities have shown the opposite. They seized in this violent manner two of our fellow citizens, who do not have criminal records and are treating them as the most dangerous terrorists. Even if they are guilty, and we believe that they are not, the only charges against them could be the destruction of private property. "

The judicial authorities, however, do not agree. Two weeks ago, the prosecutor in Halkidiki started a criminal persecution against 20 people for involvement in specific attacks. Among the allegations are involvement in a criminal group, attempted murder, possession of explosives, causing of explosions and arsons. Seven of the charges are felonies and the remaining eleven are criminal offences. It is expected that the investigators will personalize them according to the degree of involvement of each of the suspects.

Tags: SocietyGold minesHalkidikiProtestsPoliceArrests
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