Greece: Riot police storm the small mining village of Ierissos.

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Soshalkidiki

Local communities of North Eastern Chalkidiki in Greece are once again in turmoil. This morning, amidst unclear reports that local residents were being detained and / or arrested, at least 6 squads of riot police arrived at the entrance of the village of Ierissos – home of about 3000 residents. At 11 am, while a large number of residents had gathered, the riot police began shooting large quantities of teargas. As people started to pull back, continuing the use of tear gas, the riot police chased the large crowd of men and women of all ages backwards towards the village square.
The riot police stopped at the main gate of the Ierissos high school, where teachers and students alike were starting to feel the effects of the tear gas that the wind was bringing to the school building and school yard.Having barricaded the school entrance, the riot police then shot canisters of teargas into the school yard.Panic ensued as students could not breath. Several fainted and doctors’ assistance from the nearby medical center was called for. The doctor was blocked from passing the riot police lines for quite some time – the entrance into the school yard was made possible after the intense objections of people in the road. It was yet some more time before parents were allowed into the school to take their children home and busses were allowed to take students from other villages back to their homes.

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Which police force of a democratic state raids a village with chemicals and teargas in front of a school full of students during school hours? What kind of police force blocks a doctor’s entrance into a school full of students, whose classrooms are full of teargas?

At this time, residents’ houses are being searched by men of special police forces in the presence of judicial officials. They are accompanied by buses of riot police, while other buses remain barricading the entrance of Ierissos. Members of Parents Associations are at the Local Police station in order to File A Report of todays’ Events at Ierissos High School.
The Police forces are lined up at the entrance of Ierissos Opposite Local Residents. Opposite local residents who are struggling for their lives, their health and that of their children.

From the besieged village Ierissos, we send a message of resistance and struggle. We will not allow the targeting and the criminalization of a social struggle as the one we are fighting.

This social struggle is resilient and will prevail.

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The police assault on Ierissos near the Skouries forest – 07 March 2013

 The police campaign to intimidate and even terrorize the anti-mining movement in north-eastern Halkidiki took a new turn this morning when several platoons of riot police entered the village of Ierissos, allegedly to summon witnesses to the regional police HQ in Polygyros and to conduct house searches. Residents initially reported 6 platoons, but later concluded that the number of riot policemen was much, much higher. Officers from national security and anti-terrorism units also participated in the raid.
Residents quickly gathered at the entrance of the village. The riot police marched into the village, throwing large quantities of tear gas (video 1video 2video 3). Multiple eyewitnesses, including the headmaster, report that tear gas was thrown inside the secondary school, which had to be evacuated. One student was wounded after taking a hot from a tear gas canister. Several people are reported to be suffering from breathing problems and need medical care.
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The police spokesman, in an phone interview on SKAI TV, denied that any tear gas had been used and claimed that the breathing problems were due to the fumes of tires burnt by residents at makeshift roadblocks. TV presenter Popi Tsapanidou couldn’t but answer: “You’re kidding me.”

Two members of parliament, one from SYRIZA and one from PASOK, denounced the behaviour of the police in parliament this morning. No official response was put forward by the government yet.

@katerinaelikaki reports however as of 13:15 that policemen are conducting house searches. The pictures below are hers.

Update 18:00EET

The riot police conducted 5 house searches, after which they assaulted the assembled residents and journalists who were following them with tear gas. Alterthess reports that tear gas was also thrown inside houses, with parents struggling to get their children out in the midst of the chaos.

 

 

 

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