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Hellas Gold funds local police during controversial mine struggle

Marios Aravantinou writes in Reportage/ Ρεπορτάζ-Ειδήσεις that Hellas Gold, the subsidiary of Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold, has funded security forces in the region of northern Greece where the company is pursuing the controversial Skouries mine.


Aravantinou notes that in ‘New Mining’ magazine, the company admits that in the context of ‘corporate social responsibility’ it subsidizes infrastructure for schools, health centres, and security forces. A translation from Greek of the quote from the company spokesperson reads as, “a key part of the return results in public services and security forces with financial and logistical support at every level”.  In Greek, the quote reads, «βασικό μέρος της ανταποδοτικότητας καταλήγει σε δημόσιες υπηρεσίες και στα σώματα ασφαλείας με οικονομική και υλικοτεχνική υποστήριξη σε κάθε επίπεδο».

Another article tells the story of an incident last year when two mountaineering clubs in Thessaloniki organized a hike in an area near the mine site. That report says that various security guards, riot police, and other police officers arrived to investigate “the riot of dangerous terrorist walkers”. Some of the police arrived in Hellas Gold company cars. When asked to explain, they reportedly said, “We did not have cars to come!” 

In Greek, this incident reads as, «τους γνωστούς σεκιουριτάδες, μερικές διμοιρίες ΜΑΤ – συνηθισμένο φαινόμενο σ’αυτό το βουνό – και …άλλες μονάδες της αστυνομίας ονόματι Ο.Π.Κ.Ε. που ήταν εκεί με αυτοκίνητα της HELLAS GOLD!!! Τα Ο.Π.Κ.Ε. είναι «Ομάδες Πρόληψης και Καταστολής Εγκλήματος» και προφανώς ήταν εκεί για να συνδράμουν τα ΜΑΤ στην αντιμετώπιση των επικίνδυνων πεζοπόρων τρομοκρατών. Σε ερώτηση των έκπληκτων ορειβατών για τα αυτοκίνητα της ιδιωτικής εταιρείας η απάντηση ήταν «Δεν είχαμε αυτοκίνητα για να έρθουμε»!!!»

This brings to mind this story from Hamilton last June. Hamilton 350 filed a policy complaint against the Hamilton police services board for accepting $44,410 in donations from Enbridge Pipelines Inc. CBC reported, “The money was given in two separate installments — $34,910 for a new ATV unit and $9,500 for mapping and GPS equipment in 2010.” In their letter of complaint, the group said, “(The) question of principle is the public perception of favouritism on the part of the Hamilton Police Services on behalf of a private corporation.”

Don McLean, a Hamilton 350 coordinator, says, “It’s inappropriate. This is a public police force and it should be funded by the public. If they’re of the view that municipalities need additional money, they could raise it in taxes. The appropriate way for these costs to be covered is the taxation process.” Their media release also notes, “While Hamilton’s funds went toward a GPS system and ATV’s, (the city of) Belleville used their funds (from Enbridge) for a new mobile command center and the Ontario Provincial Police splurged on night vision goggles.”

Further reading
Anti Gold Greece
Group protests Enbridge donation to Hamilton police department