Just a day after it was agreed that hundreds of riot police officers would be withdrawn from Keratea, southeastern Attica, where residents have been violently protesting the government?s plans for a landfill, there was confusion on Tuesday about whether the project has been suspended and how long the tenuous truce would hold.
Government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis backed Citizens? Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis, whose initiative it was to withdraw police.
But the government spokesman also sought to strike a firm stance. ?The project will go ahead, there is no question of any suspension, there is the law and there is the government?s decision on the matter,? he said.
It was unclear how Petalotis?s comments would go down with local authority representatives from Keratea who are preparing to meet with government officials after Easter to submit their town?s counterproposal for waste management in the area (which foresees locals handling their own trash but none from other parts of Attica). Speaking to Kathimerini on Tuesday, Costas Levantis, the mayor of Lavreotiki, which comprises Keratea and two other towns, claimed that the consortium entrusted with the landfill project had taken ?no action whatsoever? to move four excavators parked at the site. Later in the day it emerged that one had been moved.
The fact that the landfill dispute has involved officials from the Interior, Environment and Citizens? Protection ministries appears to have complicated discussions. Regional officials are involved too, confusing matters further.
The president of Mesogeia SA – one of the companies in the aforementioned consortium – told Kathimerini on Tuesday that he had received orders from Attica regional authorities to press on. ?The last order we received a couple of days ago was to speed things up,? Dionysis Georgopoulos said.