Saturday, April 16, 2011

Local Landfill Violent Riot

"...Air raid sirens wail through the streets, mingling with the frantic clanging of church bells.

Clouds of tear gas waft between houses as helmeted riot police move in to push back the rebels.

...its fight is about a garbage dump...

As unemployment rises and austerity bites ever harder,
tempers seem to fray faster than ever...

...with citizens of all stripes increasingly thumbing their noses at authority.

Some refuse to pay increased highway tolls and public transport tickets,
and there has been a rise in politicians being heckled — even assaulted — by constituents.

...The state's attempt to start work on a planned garbage dump
...caused locals to set fire to construction vehicles
and erect massive roadblocks on a highway...

It's a fight that has galvanized the town,
from the mayor and the local priest to shopkeepers, farmers, schoolteachers and teenagers.

"We live and breathe to finish our jobs for the day, to go to the blockades, to participate,
to sacrifice ourselves in preventing the landfill from happening,"
said Nikos Manolis, a local resident and bus owner.

Over the past four months, locals have developed increasingly inventive roadblocks
to stop contractors from getting to the proposed dump site.

They have parked trucks across the street and built piles of rubble and dirt.

Apparently in it for the long haul, they have erected a wooden hut by the side of the road
to serve as protest headquarters, complete with campaign posters,
news clippings and children's drawings of the riots.

Their latest move was a nighttime expedition
to dig a shoulder-high trench across both lanes of the highway.

That was one step too far for authorities, who on Thursday sent in road crews
— protected by police — to repair the damage.

Within hours the confrontation had degenerated.

Masked youths hurled firebombs and rocks at riot police
who responded with rubber baton rounds and repeated volleys of tear gas.

A police helicopter circled overhead.

"The town is out of control. Business activity has stopped," said Yannis Adamis,
a local resident and mechanical engineer.

"The stores are closed. The sirens are blaring, the (church) bells are ringing,
people are on the streets.

This cannot continue."

In nearby streets, gaggles of teenage girls,
cut lemons held to their noses in a futile effort to ward off tear gas,
mingled with young men...stocking up on rocks to throw at police.

An elderly man wielding a shepherd's staff stormed past.

"We've learned at the age of 60 about Molotov cocktails," he thundered through his gas mask
— an accessory sported by young and old alike.

...By the end of the night, more than 20 people — including three riot policemen
— had been treated in the hospital. Just after midnight,
a police officer's home in the area was attacked with firebombs, leaving three cars destroyed.

...Rumors abound that undercover police are at work,
walking around town and gathering information.

Journalists, with their cameras and notebooks, immediately arouse suspicion.

...Residents argue the landfill will devalue the region and pose a health hazard.

The town's mayor says local authorities have made a counterproposal for waste management,
but that government officials refuse to listen.

"We have a very specific proposal.

We accept to manage our proportion of the garbage in the manufacturing district
with a small, modern factory that we want to build as a municipality,"
said mayor Kostas Levantis.

Government spokesman...
said the government had no intention of abandoning its plans to build the landfill...

..."There's no way we will back down. If they don't accept that this project cannot happen,
we will be here as long as it takes," said Levantis."

What could be Greensboro, North Carolina

1 comment:

Fec said...

You're a turnip.