Kozani plant still blocked

Residents of two villages near the Aghios Dimitrios power station in Kozani, northern Greece, yesterday hindered the operation of the plant for a third day, insisting on local jobs with Public Power Corporation (PPC). Dozens of protesters continued their blockade of a conveyer belt carrying lignite to the plant, which generates 20 percent of Greece’s power supply, causing production levels to drop and increasing the risk of blackouts. The protesters charge that PPC has failed to make good on alleged promises to give local jobs to some 60 villagers. They also complain that the plant emits high levels of pollution. Demonstration organizers have rejected an invitation by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas to meet them in Athens, insisting that the minister visit Kozani to «see our problems for himself.» Protesters say they will bar supplies of lignite to the plant until their demands are addressed.