Polygyros Police Department has detained four people over an arson attack in the early hours against the gold mines of Skouries in Halkidiki. The police are seeking four more people. Police have recovered unexploded petrol bombs, fireworks, torches and empty bottles, a full-face hood, a surgical mask, bloodstains and cigarette butts from the scene.

The attack against the worksite of the gold-mining company “Ellinikos Hrysos” in Skouries took place in the early hours of Sunday morning by about 40 hooded people, who caused extensive damages to equipment, facilities and vehicles. According to the police, the group poured flammable liquid at various spots, set them on fire and then escaped. Four people were taken to the local health center for light injuries, one of whom was later taken to the hospital.

Sources from the firm claim that the security guards were assaulted, tied up and then doused in petrol. The firm also claims that during their escape, they blocked the drive-way to the facilities with fallen trees, in order to stall the fire department. The police detained 27 people in relation to the attack, all of whom were later set free as there was no incriminating evidence.

The representative of the Mining Activity Commission Tolis Papageorgiou explained that the incident is related to the attempt to cut trees from the forest around three streams, from which big parts of central and eastern Halkidiki are supplied. The intent is to turn the streams into waste dumps for the gold mine, which Mr. Papageorgiou likened to “a declaration of war against the region”.

The president of the workers’ union Angelos Deligiovas was infuriated by the event, arguing that “since the state can’t guard the investment, we will”, while calling for all workers to meet in the mines to discuss the matter. The firm has not issued a statement regarding the incident.