Police to be withdrawn from Keratea

Hundreds of riot police officers who have been deployed for months near Keratea, southeastern Attica, where residents have been angrily protesting plans for a landfill, are to withdraw from the area following talks between the local mayor and Citizens’ Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Monday.

Papoutsis agreed to start withdrawing police from the area on the condition that locals, who have constructed barricades on the main road outside their town, also move away from the area, sources said.

The agreement to end a four-month standoff between local residents and police came in the early afternoon after talks between Papoutsis and Costas Levantis, the mayor of Lavreotiki – a region comprising Keratea and two other towns.

The meeting, which took place at the ministry in Athens, was set up following talks on Sunday between Levantis and the Bishop of Mesogeia and Lavreotiki, Nikolaos.

Sources told Skai that three excavators that have been sitting on the site slated for the landfill for months would be removed from the area.

Levantis is to meet with Environment Minister Tina Birbili next week to submit his town’s counter-proposal for waste management in the area, the sources said.

There was no immediate reaction from the Interior Ministry whose officials have insisted that the Keratea landfill must be built to solve Attica’s waste management problem.

The police workers’ union last week sued the Greek Police over the «unacceptable conditions» faced by officers deployed in Keratea. Police have been involved in running battles with residents hurling firebombs and stones for several months.

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