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Hydroelectric plant workers assault villagers in Turkey

GİRESUN/RİZE — Dogan News Agency | 5/12/2010 12:00:00 AM | H.Hakan Kabahasanoğlu - Muhammet Kaçar

A fight leaving three people wounded broke out between construction workers and locals at the Deregözü Regulator and Düzköy Hydroelectric Plant on Tuesday.

A fight leaving three people wounded broke out between construction workers and locals at the Deregözü Regulator and Düzköy Hydroelectric Plant on Tuesday.

Residents of Deregözü Village in the northern Black Sea region of Turkey intervened as workers dumped rocks at the side of Çanakçı Creek in the morning. The argument turned into a fight, and the workers allegedly attacked the villagers with sticks, leaving three of them hospitalized.

The wounded, Sezai Yılmaz, İsmet Yılmaz and Murat Yılmaz, were taken to Görele Ergün Özdemir State Hospital after the incident. Sezai Yılmaz was transferred to Trabzon Karadeniz Technical University's hospital later because of his serious condition. The local gendarmerie went to the site of the incident afterward and started an investigation.

Hüseyin Kır, head of the village, said they filed a case to stop construction of the four hydroelectric plants in the villages of Deregözü and Düzköy. “The work should not be continued unless a decision is made by the court. However, nobody listens to us. There is great pressure on the villagers. They are provoking some of our friends against us too,” Kır said, adding that they are being intimidated and want protection from the government.

Ömer Şan, term spokesman for the Brotherhood of Creeks Platform, said it is saddening that three villagers are wounded. “The residents and leaders of the 12 villages at the Çanakçı Valley filed a stay of execution case against the hydroelectric plants. The mentioned firms and the related ministries and foundations are continuing the construction of those projects almost by force upon our people despite the judicial decisions, the reaction of the people and scientific reports.”

Şan said the people of Deregözü and Düzköy villages are being threatened and beaten up by the construction firms in order to force them to leave their villages. “The villagers residing at Çanakçı Valley are determined to continue the democratic and lawful struggle against the hydroelectric plants against all attacks, threats and the powers of unknown origin [of the construction firms],” he said.

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