At least seven people, among them elderly, were injured when riot police beat young and old protesting the installation of wind turbines project on the island of Tinos in the central Aegean Sea. Hundreds of locals had gathered at the port of the island in the early morning hours of Wednesday awaiting for the cranes for the transport of wind turbines components that had arrived with a ferry form the mainland.
When the cranes started to leave the ferry, fully equipped police forces started to beat the protesters who had formed a “chain” with their bodies.
Video: A woman is heard shouting it “Stop it! Stop it!” as riot police beats local protesters – exclusive by cyclades24.gr
“They beat the elderly, girls and farmers, people who are not accustomed to contact with violence and who held a peaceful demonstration; they [police] behaved as if we were the gangs of New York,” a local resident told newspaper efsyn.
Among the injured was the 72-year-old former mayor of Tinos, who suffered a head injury from a police baton as he was trying to help a young woman who was also injured.
Police officers had arrived on the island with the sole purpose to facilitate that the project proceeds according to plan, as there has been strong reaction by the local population.
Locals consider the installation of the wind turbines as an “environmental crime.”
On Sept 11, at the request by 16 residents, a court issued an interim order that the transit permits for vehicles that transport the components for the wind turbines was temporary suspended at least until September 27. However, the cooperating companies had previously requested the revocation of the interim order, which was accepted by the court, efsyn reported.
As of Monday, by order of the Police from the neighboring island of Syros, access to the road leading to the mountain was blocked “for security reasons” in order to transport the wind turbine components.
The ferry with the cranes arrived on Tuesday night and the hundreds of protesters who gathered at the port saw that it was cordoned off with ropes, while police and Coast Guard vehicles and dozens of men in uniforms were preventing people from passing through.
Another group of protesters continued to be at the Tripotamos intersection, initially preventing the cranes from driving up to the mountain.
Wednesday dawn , the armed police forces who were accompanying the cranes began to beat protesters with batons and shields.
Three of the seven injured protesters had to be taken to the Health Center. Among them was the 72-year-old former mayor of the island, Nikiforos Deladouras, who was beaten on the head with police clubs.
“He was down with blood on his head when we saw another protester next to him standing motionless in the street, with the policeman above him beating him furiously,” eyewitnesses described the incident to efsyn.
“They beat up old people, girls and farmers, people who are not used to being in contact with violence and who are protesting peacefully and behaving as if we were the New York gang. It is shocking that it happens – and has happened repeatedly – that you are beaten with metal clubs”, protesters said.
“The atmosphere in the local community is heavy and tense, as these images and the bodily harm our protesting fellow citizens suffered by the police forces are unprecedented for the society of Tinos that has a deeply peaceful culture,” the mayor of Tinos, Giannis Siotos, said in an open letter to the Ministry of Citizen Protection and the local police authorities. He demanded that similar incidents do not happen again.
It is not the first time riot police proceeds with violence against protesters on Tinos and probably won’t be the last one until the project is concluded.