Police brace for rallies – for and against – gold mine in northern Greece

The police are taking emergency measures to ensure that two demonstrations scheduled to take place in central Athens on Thursday – in favor of and against the operation of the Skouries gold mine in Halkidiki, northern Greece – are kept apart.

The plan was discussed during a meeting at Athens police headquarters and foresees the use of crush barriers and an intensified police presence in key parts of the center.

The first demonstration, by employees of the Skouries gold mine, is due to begin at 10 a.m. outside the Development Ministry, which has suspended one of the mine’s licenses to allow a review of the project. Some 4,000 protesters, chiefly employees and their supporters, are to arrive in Athens on 85 buses chartered for the purpose.

The second demonstration, by activists opposing the project in Skouries mainly due to its environmental impact, is set to begin outside the main entrance to Athens University at 6 p.m.

As the participants in the first protest are not scheduled to leave Athens until 9 p.m., authorities are keen to keep the two sides apart. Supporters and opponents of the mine were involved in violent clashes in Skouries earlier this month.

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