Attempt to defuse Ierissos tension

Representatives of the police, residents of Ierissos in Halkidiki and officials from the Hellas Gold mining company met in the presence of a top Thessaloniki prosecutor Friday in a bid to defuse the tension created on Thursday when riot squads fired tear gas in the village amid continuing protests about the Skouries gold mine.

All three representatives agreed to make every effort to ensure the law is upheld. Lawyers of Ierissos residents who had been detained over the past few days in connection with an arson attack on Hellas Gold’s offices last month complained about the heavy police presence in the village.

The meeting at the appeals court prosecutor’s office was called after complaints about dozens of riot police entering the village on Thursday. Four people arrested in the operation were charged with illegal possession of weapons and fireworks. Their trial has been set for March 20.

SYRIZA spokesman Panos Skourletis said Friday that the leftist party would cancel the gold mine contract if it comes to power. New Democracy MP Yiannis Michelakis suggested the concession should be reviewed.

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou appeared to backtrack from recent comments suggesting the government had approved another gold mining project in Thrace. He said the government was “examining new information provided by experts before a final decisions is made.”

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