Mr. Peck R. – Canadian Ambassador to Greece (Athens )
Mr. Petmeza P. – Consul of Canada in Greece (Thessaloniki)
We have gathered in Thessaloniki today on the 9th of November 2013, to declare once again that we will not allow the destruction of our land by the Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold Corp. Actions and meetings are being held, at the same time, in many cities in Greece and Europe, in support and solidarity with our struggle.
We have, in the past, delivered to you resolutions which you have ostentatiously ignored. Apparently, the protocol does not allow you to «interfere» in political, social and environmental problems Greece is facing, even if these problems are caused by Canadians’ activities.
Today we ask you to carry our message to the people of Canada, as you are obliged to do, being representatives of Canada to Greece.
Dear people of Canada,
In Greece – in these times of crisis, unemployment, memoranda and misery – «investments are protected at all costs». Private business’ interests are prioritized against environmental protection, quality of life, democracy and human rights.
In this tragedy, one of the roles is played by the Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold Corp, whose “investment” projects in Northern Greece are supported, by all means, by the Greek government.
Natural resources and public land were ceded at a symbolic price, while the Greek state expects no economic benefits since there are no royalties. What remains for us are a few hundred job positions, an environmental disaster, a state repression of unbelievable brutality and the criminalization of our struggles against destructive mining operations.
Our fears and concerns have been proven and supported by studies and findings of Universities and scientists, who warn of catastrophic and irreversible environmental and economic impacts, which the political leadership and the decision-makers have derided and ignored.
On the contrary, the social movement against mining was not ignored. It has been beaten, ridiculed, criminalized and persecuted mercilessly. The forces of repression, in mandated service of protecting Eldorado Gold, beat protesters, threw tear-gas chemicals in schools, injured elderly people, took genetic samples by force, stormed into houses at dawn and arrested people in front of the fearful eyes of their children, kidnaped detainees for hours, imprisoned people.
At the same time, state control agencies and prosecuting authorities are covering the illegal activities of the company, challenging the common sense of justice and jeopardizing public health. Arsenic in drinking water, leaking of hazardous mineral concentrates in residential areas, illegal transportation and storage of hazardous substances, pollution of streams, illegal logging and more.
Eldorado Gold Corp. has many supporters in Greece. The Government of the country (which would protect the «investment» at all costs), the police (to which the company is particularly generous offering financial and logistical assistance), intertwined media (whose shareholders happen to be shareholders of the company), magistrates (whose relatives are associated with the company), ministers (who have held positions in companies which are shareholders of Eldorado Gold), ambassadors (who intervene and promote the company’s investments).
Eldorado Gold Corp. however, has many people opposing it’s tactics and activities. Thousands of people, collectives, political bodies, organizations, both in Greece and abroad, stand in solidarity with our struggle for life and nature. Hundreds of demonstrations, activities, informative events, resolutions of support. On the 5th of October 2013, over 35,000 people attended the concert – protest against destructive mining in Thessaloniki.
Dear people of Canada,
We are people who want to live and create in our land. A land that besides its exceptional natural environment, is also the birthplace of Aristotle and the gate of Mount Athos.
We are people who want to live in a healthy natural, cultural and social environment. We struggle for life, environment, democracy, human rights and a better future.
We trust that you understand our concerns and recognize for us the same human rights you have.
We want to believe that you don’t react to the occurring crime in northern Greece, only because you do not know about it.
We believe that this time, the officials chosen to represent you in Greece, will carry our message and will inform you about how Eldorado Gold operates in Greece.
We trust that you will stand by our side, in a common struggle for the obvious, the justice and the dream.
If, again, you do not believe any of the above, then we are obliged to inform you that we will not abandon our land, as you would not abandon yours!»
Committees of the Struggle Against Gold Mining of Chalkidiki and Thessaloniki