Police release man over Greek mining firm attack

Updated: 02/18/2013 10:08 AM KSTP.com

(AP) THESSALONIKI, Greece - A Greek prosecutor ordered the release Monday of a 54-year-old man hours after he was arrested in connection with an attack on a gold mining company in which about 40 masked intruders torched machinery and vehicles.

Police had arrested the man for "moral instigation" of the attack due to his contributions to an anti-mining blog. The prosecutor later ordered him released without officially charging him, while also ordering the investigation to continue.

Opposition to the Skouries mining project in northern Greece’s Halkidiki peninsula runs deep, and the area has seen numerous protests in recent months, some of which have turned violent. The mining company, Hellas Gold, is 95 percent owned by Canada’s Eldorado Gold Inc. and is planning a gold mine and processing plant in the area.

Residents are divided between those who fear environmental destruction and those who support the mine for its job prospects at a time of severe financial crisis and spiraling unemployment.

In the overnight attack between Saturday and Sunday, intruders overpowered security guards at the Skouries facility or forced them to flee before dousing machinery, vehicles and containers used as offices with gasoline and setting the place alight.

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