Rally in Athens against gold mine, as SYRIZA chief slams quarries

A group calling itself the “Attica Committee of Solidarity with Halkidiki ” has organized a rally at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in central Athens to express its support for protesters in northern Greece trying to stop operations at a gold mine in Skouries, Halkidiki.

Earlier in the day a few dozen protesters gathered at the central square in the town of Komotini, also in northern Greece, to protest a separate gold mining project on Thrace’s Perama Hill.

Meanwhile, the two gold mines in northern Greece, which have sparked strong reactions from local communities concerned about their environmental impact, served as key points in an address given to supporters by opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras in the town of Alexandroupoli, Thrace.

“Growth does not come about through memorandums, Exclusive Economic Zones and the destruction of the natural environment,” Tsipras said, making reference to Greece’s plans to explore for hydrocarbon deposits in the Aegean and to the concerns of locals regarding the gold mines. He also suggested that on the issue of the two gold mines in Halkidiki and in Thrace the government is “pandering to vested interests.”

Tsipras added that “Greece is not a banana republic” and that such investments have “no place in a developed country,” suggesting that the focus for economic growth in Thrace should be on developing the agricultural sector and investing in renewable energy sources.

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