“People may get killed in Skouries if we don’t deal properly with the issue,” said Citizen Protection Minister Yiannis Panousis after new clashes between miners and local residents on Sunday resulted in several injuries. Later at night protesters threatened miners to leave the area and damaged two cars.
Earlier on Sunday, both sides carried out demonstrations over the operation of the controversial Hellas Gold mining operation in Skouries in northern Greece. The demonstrations culminated with the two sides throwing rocks at each other. Residents of the nearby Ierissos village have complained that they were assaulted by riot police and miners, with four protesters reported to have been injured.
The citizen protection minister said that the situation at Skouries has gotten out of hand and police must deal with the issue differently and be more drastic, otherwise there might be deaths.
The two sides blame each other for the violence. SYRIZA MP Katerina Iglezi who was present in support of the protesters accused the riot police for colluding with miners and attacking local residents with tear gas leaving four injured. Iglezi told Greek radio that it is inconceivable that three hundred miners broke the police block, including seven police buses, and attacked protesters with sticks and stones without any reaction from the police.
The miners on their behalf claim to have been assaulted by hooded individuals, which resulted in two miners being injured.
At the same time, Giorgos Chatzis, president of the Hellas Gold miners’ union said that hooded protesters attacked first by throwing stones at them and injuring three miners.
Also, miners say that protesters marched to their homes late in the night and threatened them and their families to leave the area. According to the miners, protesters proceeded with damaging two cars that belong to Hellas Gold employees.
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