‘Civil war’ brewing over disputed Greek goldmine

For the past three years, the investment of Hellenic Gold, a subsidiary of Canadian firm Eldorado Gold, has deeply divided the local communities of the Halkidiki peninsula, even setting family members at each others’ throats. In Megali Panagia itself, tit-for-tat attacks on shops and cars belonging to rival factions have been going on for years. But the arrival in January of a new leftist government that opposes the investment has sparked a mobilisation among Hellenic Gold employees afraid of losing their jobs.

A civil war is unfolding and the government must clear this situation up immediately. I know of one pending lawsuit concerning a beating between two brothers.

Yiorgos Kyritsis, a legal representative for the anti-mining faction

Earlier this month, riot police were sent in when the rival groups came close to clashing in an oak forest between the villages of Stratoni, where Hellenic Gold has its base, and Ierissos, which opposes the project. Police minister Yiannis Panousis warned “there will be casualties” unless the situation is resolved. Energy and Environment Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis has accused the company of acting “as a state within a state” and mobilising its staff to cause violence. The miners will protest in Athens on April 16.