Thousands have gathered in Athens to protest against a licence suspension for a mine in Skouries, in the Halkidiki area.
According to authorities, 4,000 miners have travelled down from the northern region. They are angry that the government has decided to carry out a review of the site.
“The left-wing government has thrown 2,000 workers on the street! Have you ever heard of a left-wing government that has caused so much unemployment?” said one young man. “We are asking for something very simple. We’re fighting for our right to live and to work.”
The decision to suspend activity could halt investment in the mine and have a knock-on effect on employees.
Canada-based Eldorado Gold has pumped over 370 million euros into the mine and was set to invest another 650 million by 2017.
The mine’s development has provoked clashes between miners and the local community, who are concerned for the environment, as our correspondent, Apostolos Staikos, explains:
“In a country with 25 percent unemployment, the miners argue that the government is condemning their area to deterioration and is putting them out of work,” he said. “The gold mines in Halkidiki have divided public opinion.The dilemma is: the environment versus economic development, leaving experts and the government with an intractable problem.”