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19 Feb 2016

Guardian (UK)

Turkish police clash with mine protesters in Artvin

Turkish police fire teargas on gold mine protesters, 17 February 2016

Turkish police fired teargas Wednesday to disperse hundreds of protesters trying to prevent a gold mine from being built in an ecologically pristine area in the Black Sea region, an AFP photographer said. There has been a growing standoff over plans by the Cengiz Holding conglomerate to build the mine in the Artvin region on the Black Sea.

Environmental activists have put up barricades, set rubbish bins on fire and made bonfires with tree branches in a bid to block construction work. Meanwhile, police have sent reinforcements to the centre of the protests in the Cerrattepe district of Artvin to ensure the movement does not escalate further. The chief executive of Cengiz Holding is the tycoon Mehmet Cengiz, who is seen as a close ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“The people of Artvin are showing an extraordinary resistance,” said Green Artvin Association head, Nese Karahan, quoted by the Dogan news agency. Karahan was detained by police as well as several others, it added. At least one protester was wounded, reports said. Reports said that locals had parked vehicles in key locations and on the hills to ensure the heavy vehicles of Cengiz Holding are not able to begin work on the project.