HUNDREDS of mineworkers armed with wooden sticks, employed at the Skouries gold mine in the Khalkidiki area of northern Greece, on Sunday morning supported police riot squads in an attack on a rally of villagers calling for an end to the mine’s operations.
Eyewitness K. Iglezi, a Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary deputy, stated that, ‘the riot police united with the mineworkers of the Eldorado Gold company’.
She added: ‘The police action exposes the SYRIZA- led government; who controls the police, the government or Eldorado Gold?’
Appearing on Greek television, the village organisers of the protest rally, demanded the resignation of Deputy Interior Minister in charge of public order, Yiannis Panousis.
For over ten years villagers have been campaigning against the mine operation of the Canadian Eldorado Gold Corp. Villagers claim that the mine’s operations damage both their health and environment. Villagers make their living out of agriculture and tourism.
Last Friday, Deputy Minister Panousis attacked the occupation of universities and state buildings by protesters in solidarity with the hunger strike of 23 imprisoned anarchists convicted of bombing banks.
Panousis challenged the ‘government of the Left’ not to become the ‘Left government of nothing’ by stopping the riot police from attacking occupations.
Panousis was made a Deputy Minister by Prime Minister and SYRIZA leader, Alexis Tsipras, despite the fact that he voted for the hated austerity accords when he was a parliamentary deputy of the Democratic Left party.
Prior to Panousis’ unprecedented declaration, Yiorghos Kharisis, the father of one of the hunger strikers, had issued a dramatic plea to the SYRIZA government ‘not to stain its hands with the blood of dead hunger-strikers’. Kharisis, a fighter against the Greek military junta in the early 1970s, is the secretary of the SYRIZA trade union organisation META.
On Monday morning in Athens, the sacked Finance Ministry women cleaners along with sacked school guards, ERT state TV and radio workers and BIOME metalworkers, marched to the Labour Ministry demanding the implementation of SYRIZA’s election promises.
l International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has welcomed news that Athens will make a loan repayment due to the IMF this week.
On Sunday, Greece’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said his country intended to meet ‘all obligations to all its creditors, ad infinitum’.
Lagarde said: ‘I welcome confirmation by the minister that payment owing to the Fund would be forthcoming on April 9th.’