In unrelenting demonstrations against a gold mine in northern Greece that has gotten the go-ahead from the government, more than 10,000 people took to the streets of the country’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki, in a bid to stop the project they said would harm the environment and tourism. The government said it will create jobs.
Police blocked the crowd’s march to the Canadian Consulate in Thessaloniki, but the March 9 protest was peaceful. Eldorado Gold Corp., based in Vancouver, Canada, has been granted the rights to the gold mine in Halkidiki peninsula, east of Thessaloniki.
The company has established a camp employing 1,200 people and plans to begin digging soon.
The issue has bitterly divided Halkidiki residents, with some claiming the mine will drive away tourists and release toxic substances, and others denying that and saying new jobs are crucial during Greece’s severe economic crisis. Last week, about 3,000 residents demonstrated in favor of the mine.