About 3,000 people are reported to have gathered in the Megali Panagia area of Halkidiki on Sunday to hold a peaceful protest against gold mining in nearby Skouries.
The demonstration came a week after about 40 masked assailants set fire to vehicles and offices belonging to Hellas Gold in Skouries. The raid led to police detaining dozen of local residents, which prompted allegations by some of the suspects’ lawyers that human rights were breached.
Members of SYRIZA, Independent Greeks and the Ecologist Greens spoke at the rally held by residents and environmentalist who oppose the Skouries gold mine as they believe it will cause serious damage to an ancient forest in Halkidiki and poison the water supply.
Hellas Gold, which is 95-percent owned by Canadian Eldorado Gold, insists that the gold mine is legal and safe. The Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, has yet to rule on an appeal against the project filed by residents.
On Saturday, three residents of northeastern Halkidiki were released by police after complaints that they were being held in custody without being allowed access to their lawyers.
Earlier, the police issued a statement denying claims that officers were breaching suspects’ rights during their detention.