Tension is high in Ierissos, Chalkidiki, Northern Greece, after police broke down doors and entered into the houses of two suspects, arresting them in front of the eyes of horrified wives and children. According to police the two men, 44 and 33 years old, were allegedly involved in an arson attack at the nearby gold mining site.
photos by Anti-GoldGreece.gr
The arrests at 3.30 in the morning alarmed the residents who moved out and attacked the local police station, breaking in, causing damages and setting furniture on fire. No police officer was present during the raid, as the station was closed for the night.
The village residents accused police of illegally breaking down doors and violently entering the homes, while police said that there were arrest warrants against the two men. “Force was used when the residents refused to let them in,” so the police.
According to residents, in the first home, police broke the door with a crowbar, however the suspect heard them and opened the door. In the second case, police broke the door with a kick.
The suspects’ lawyers question the police force saying their clients were at the police disposal anyway.
Blocking village road – photo by @AndreasKakaris Twitter
According to Greek police statement, the investigation of Security Department in Thessaloniki had shown that hunting cartridges found at the site of the attack were fired from a gun that was later found in possession of one of the suspects, while DNA of the second man was identified in a cap left on the site.
The suspects were taken to court in Polygyros, were they’re expected to appear before the prosecutor. Angry residents have gathered outside the court.
Video: outside the court via thesstoday.gr
Minister of Public Order Nikos Dendias told private Mega TV this morning, “the law is apply” and interesting enough he added “it was considered right, that the suspects were taken by surprise”.
Apparently having growing up with Asterix comics, 54-year-old Dendias added:
“We won’t allow any community thinking to turn into a Galatian village and apply its own law.”.
According to latest information from local websites, the suspects will not be taken to Polygyros court due to security reasons. the interrogation will reportedly take place in Thessaloniki, some 150 km away.
Residents of Ierissos and various environmental organizations oppose the investment of Hellenic Gold, a subsidiary of Canadian Eldorado Gold, out of fear for their health and damages in environment. Clashes with police are often.
Hellenic Gold has been awarded an area of 26,400 hectares, of which 410 is forest land. Almost all the trees in the forest will be cut down as part of the mining firm’s plan to extract gold. The company says it will replant trees when it finishes its work.
Opponents of the mine argue it would lead to the destruction of the local forest and irreversible damage to the ecosystem.