Turkish police block convoy to support Artvin anti-mine protesters
ARTVIN – Doğan News Agency
Police and soldiers have dispersed a group that arrived in the Black Sea province of Artvin to lend support to locals and environmentalists groups that have been protesting a new gold mine.
The police used tear gas against the group of about 1,000, which tried to go into the city, passing over the barricades on Feb. 20.
Some protesters were reportedly detained.
The Artvin governors office banned new arrivals to the city center.
The block resulted in a large traffic at the entrances from Rize and Erzurum.
Facing determined resistance from hundreds of protesters, security forces fired tear gas on Feb. 17 to disperse the demonstrators who erected barricades, set rubbish bins on fire and made bonfires with tree branches in a bid to block the construction work in Cerattepe, an area in the alpine meadow of Kafkasör.
On Feb. 18, caterpillars owned by the Cengiz Holding, a Turkish group of companies operating in the construction industry, started preparation work to build the mine in the area.
A governmental body dealing with Turkey’s forested areas has denied allegations that trees have already been cut down to open space for the construction of the mine.