Police hurt, five arrested in Greek landfill clash

ATHENS, Wednesday 9 February 2011 (AFP) – Two police officers were hurt and five people were arrested after late night clashes near Athens between riot police and rural residents opposing a planned waste landfill, officials said on Wednesday.

The clashes late on Tuesday broke out after police began searching homes in the town of Keratea, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of the capital.

One resident was detained on the spot and police later found dozens of Molotov cocktails and incendiary materials on a rural highway where police and locals have been sporadically clashing for over two months.

Hours after the raid, the local police station was attacked with stones, firecrackers and Molotov cocktails, the police said in a statement.

“Two officers were injured and hospitalised,” the police said.

The residents of Keratea have long opposed the creation of the landfill, which was earmarked for the area nearly a decade ago, arguing that the local environment will be irreversibly degraded.

The government counters that the new facility will replace existing garbage dumps that already constitute a risk to the local environment.

Greece has few organised waste disposal facilities and recycling efforts have only recently begun in earnest.

For decades, garbage was dumped in a wholesale manner in ravines and other available areas, earning the country large fines from the European Commission for serious environmental neglect.

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