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Keratea: no pasaran

How would you like it if the government suddenly informed you that the rubbish of a 3 m. city would soon be deposited next to your house in a small town (Keratea of Attica), where you and your forefathers have been living off agriculture for the past hundreds of years, and – to add insult to injury – the precise spot contains important ancient ruins (citadel of Ovriocastro) also provoking the ire of archaeologists who together with the locals have filed an official protest with UNESCO (see http://issuu.com/antixyta/docs/keratea-unesco )

This is the case in Keratea, a formerly peaceful town, in a still surprisingly pristine, wine-growing and sheep-herding area, close to the new Athens international airport. Everyone from the mayor, to the priests, to the most disinterested, otherwise apolitical/conservative citizen is up in arms, and the unpopular government has sent in semi-military riot police to defend the sub-contractors bulldozers from being burned. A violent cat and mouse game involving police tear-gas attacks and beatings has been taking place day and night for the past two months with the scenes not very different from the uprising in North Africa.

If an increasingly authoritarian government was not so dependent on (i.e. traditionally funded by) powerful contractor special interests, which stand to gain from the construction of the dump, they could chose from a great variety of devolved, eco-friendly solutions to Athens’ acute rubbish problem such as those put forward by the green party which involve local recycling and processing at municipal level. For the time being no side seems ready to back down an inch. A local meeting with experts is taking place today (27 February) to try to solve the impasse in a peaceful manner. More details can be found in the town's anti-dump campaign blog. You may also sign the online petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/keratea/petition-sign.html

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