16 October 2013
Dear colleagues at Hellenic Mining Watch,
We’ve learned, with great concern, about the 29 residents of Halkidiki charged with “participating in a criminal organization”. The Greek state says that the purpose of this alleged criminal organization is that “through illegal means was aiming to prevent or postpone mining or other activity by Eldorado Gold in the area of Skouries”. However, according to news sources, no specific illegal actions have been linked with specific persons, nor has it been demonstrated that the anti-mining movement has ever used non-legal means.
To our stupefaction, we also found out that Mr. Tolis Papageorgiou, the president of Hellenic Mining Watch, have been charged with funding and running this so-called “criminal organization”.
This is our solidarity message with the people from Halkidiki and Hellenic Mining Watch now being criminally charged, a message we are kindly asking you to address to all Greek competent authority to investigate the case as well as to the general public.
“Alburnus Maior Association is an NGO based in Rosia Montana, Romania, founded in 2000 by citizens from Rosia Montana who oppose the cyanide gold mine proposed by Gabriel Resources on social, economic, environmental and social grounds. Alburnus Maior initiated and coordinates the Save Rosia Montana campaign, a vast civil society movement with national and international support (www.rosiamontana.org) that over the past 10 years has been campaigning against the destructive gold mine proposal at Rosia Montana that would use cyanide, destroy our homes, forests, churches, cemeteries, archeological remain and all sustainable future opportunities in Rosia Montana.
The Mining Watch Romania network unites the efforts of the civil society and the local monitoring, planning and intervention communities with regards to mining activities in Romania. The network secretariat is being provided by the Independent Centre for the Development of Environmental Resources. It currently campaigns against highly destructive cyanide based gold mine proposed by Eldorado Gold in the town of Certej, Hunedoara County that would destroy 120 hectares of forests and irreversibly damage a Natura 2000 site where the gold mine is partially located.
For many years both campaigns actively worked together with Hellenic Mining Watch on a great number of legal actions. The cooperation involved synchronized advocacy actions for a cyanide ban in Europe, solidarity actions for the local campaigns against the Krumovgrad and Chelopech gold mines in Bulgaria as well as constant change of ideas and know-how on legal actions against the Rosia Montana gold mine in Romania.
We ask the Greek state, we ask the Greek citizens and we ask the world: is defending your land, your culture, your family and your life a criminal act? Who is the criminal: the mothers and grandmothers of Halkidiki, who peacefully protest in the street, or the Greek riot police who throws tear gas in schools? Who is the criminal: the farmers who defend the land or the mining company who wants to poison it?
From Rosia Montana and Romania, we send our message of solidarity with the people of Halkidiki and Hellenic Mining Watch! Not only we will continue to prevent and postpone the destructive gold mining, but we will stop it for good! And we will do this by using all the means that we consider legal and legitimate. Because it has come to the situation when the state is breaking the law and the people are defending it in the street.
Drop the charges against the people of Halkidiki and Hellenic Mining Watch! Respect the land, the life and the people!”
On behalf of the Save Rosia Montana campaign
President Alburnus Maior Association
On behalf of the Mining Watch Romania
Executive Director Independent Center for the Development of Environmental Resources
Download as pdf from here.