Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Thousands march in Romania against shale gas, gold mine


Bucharest — Thousands of Romanians rallied on Sunday against a controversial Canadian gold mine project and against shale gas exploration, in weekly demos that have turned into one of the country's longest-running protests in years.

In Bucharest, some 2,500 people marched on the government's offices, chanting "Resign!, an AFP reporter saw.

The protest marked the ninth consecutive Sunday that Romanians have taken to the streets to voice their anger over the mine planned by Canada's Gabriel Resources, a project seen as harmful to the environment.

The mine, to be based in the heart of Transylvania, would be Europe's largest opencast gold mine.

Gabriel Resources hopes to extract 300 tonnes of gold with mining techniques requiring the use of thousands of tonnes of cyanide.

"We want tourism, not cyanide", protesters chanted.

The demonstrators said they were also protesting against plans by US energy giant Chevron to dig for shale gas in eastern Romania using the controversial "fracking" technique they fear might contaminate ground water.

The marchers accused Prime Minister Victor Ponta's administration of betraying his election promises by backing shale gas exploration and the planned mine, despite opposing these projects while in opposition.

Some 1,500 people also took part in protests in the northwestern city of Cluj, while another 500 took to the streets in the village of Rosia Montana, also in the northwest, where the mine is to be based.

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