#Skouries: branding the local community a criminal organization

Tolis Papageorgiou

Prominent Greek environmental activist Tolis Papageorgiou is due to appear in court today 07 July 2014. Together with 28 co-defendants, Papageorgiou faces charges of establishing a criminal organization and instigating violence for his action against ore mining in north-eastern Halkidiki, in particular in the Skouries forest, that has over the past two years become emblematic of the situation.

A civil engineer by profession, Papageorgiou hails from Ierissos, the village at the epicentre of the resistance movement to mining. After a successful career in Thessaloniki, he chose to return to his hometown in the early 1990s, when it became clear that ore mining was set to be expanded to such levels that the whole of north-eastern Halkidiki, a region of exceptional natural beauty and biodiversity, was to be transformed into an industrial wasteland, leading to the utter destruction of its delicate ecosystem and, consequently, of its society and culture.

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Developments in Skouries 12 May 2013

Clashes took place again this morning in north-eastern Halkidki where residents are protesting against logging activities by mining company Hellas Gold in the basin of the Karatzas stream near the Skouries forest.

According to the antigoldgreece blog, these new developments come ahead of a planned meeting tomorrow morning between the Residents’ Committees Against Mining and the leadership of the regional police to examine the validity of operational permits held by the mining company for logging activities in the Karatzas area. Also invited to the meeting are the head of the municipal forestry authority and the head of the department of urban planning, who still have to reply to a denunciation of possibly illegal construction activities by the company in the Skouries forest.

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A timeline of fascist activity in Greece over the past year

On the occasion of the anniversary of the May 2012 elections, in which Greece’s neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn entered parliament with 7% of the vote, @galaxyarchis prepared a timeline of the most important events related to the rise of fascism in modern Greece.Translated by @IrateGreek

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#rbnews weekly bulletin 27 April – 3 May 2013

Prepared by the #rbnews international team, translated by @IrateGreek

There was no #rbnews international show this week due to the orthodox Easter holiday, but the show’s text companion is online anyway. You can read it after the jump.

#rbnews international show 30 March 2013 – Skouries: the march to Stratoni

On 30 March 2013 on #rbnews international, we discussed once again the issue of gold and copper mining in Skouries, Halkidiki, while the anti-mining movement was holding a demonstration from Ierissos to Stratoni, the village where mining company Hellas Gold has its local offices.

With me in the studio were @potmos and @menacius from OmniaTV and Georgia Anagnou (@ganagnou) from Exandas Documentaries, and discussed, among other things, the production of two recent documentaries on the Skouries issue: Greedy Profit (OmniaTV) and Cassandra’s Treasure (Exandas).

We also interviewed Maria Kadoglou, who was participating in the march to Stratoni, Vasilis Tzimourtos, a lawyer from Ierissos who is provided legal assistance to people detained in the latest police sweep operation, and Perka Peti from the Technical Chamber of Greece, who participated in producing the Chamber’s study on the anticipated impact of the mining operation.

You can listen to the podcast, as usual, after the jump.

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#rbnews international show 16 March 2013: "It is our duty, all of us, to stand by this struggle"

On 16 March on #rbnews international, our guest was Dina Daskalopoulou, a journalist from Greece’s only truly independent daily newspaper, the Editors’ Newspaper or Εφημερίδα των Συντακτών (it is owned by its own staff.) Dina just spent three weeks in Halkidiki (also spelled Chalkidiki), reporting on events as the government’s reaction to the arson attack on the planned ore mining site in Skouries turned into full-fledged repression against anti-mining activists, especially the village of Ierissos.

You can read Dina’s articles (in Greek) here.
You can read/listen to more radiobubble reports on Skouries here.

And you can, of course, listen to the podcast after the jump.

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The demonstration against ore mining in Thessaloniki on 09 March 2013

After recent developments in Halkidiki (see here, here and here for background), a large demonstration against ore mining that was planned jointly by the anti-mining movements of Halkidiki, Kilkis and Thrace in Thessaloniki on 09 March took unexpected proportions. Turnout against mining was extremely large (9,000 according to the police, up to 20,000 according to eyewitnesses), and was further reinforced when a demonstration against cuts to the education budget chose to join the anti-mining protesters.You will find photos and videos of the demonstration, as well as a full Twitter archive of the hashtag #Skouries, after the jump.

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The police assault on Ierissos near the Skouries forest – 07 March 2013

The police campaign to intimidate and even terrorize the anti-mining movement in north-eastern Halkidiki took a new turn this morning when several platoons of riot police entered the village of Ierissos, allegedly to summon witnesses to the regional police HQ in Polygyros and to conduct house searches. Residents initially reported 6 platoons, but later concluded that the number of riot policemen was much, much higher. Officers from national security and anti-terrorism units also participated in the raid.Residents quickly gathered at the entrance of the village. The riot police marched into the village, throwing large quantities of tear gas (video 1, video 2, video 3). Multiple eyewitnesses, including the headmaster, report that tear gas was thrown inside the secondary school, which had to be evacuated. One student was wounded after taking a hot from a tear gas canister. Several people are reported to be suffering from breathing problems and need medical care. Continue reading