In the heavily forested Ida Mountains of northwestern Turkey, a bus carrying protesters snakes along the winding roads to its next stop in the fight against the planned construction of a gold mine by a Canadian company.
They were among some 5,000 people protesting earlier this month against Alamos Gold’s nearby mining site and now, a couple of days later, they are heading toward a small campsite where a few dozen activists have stayed behind to keep a vigil. A lively 61-year-old from the nearby city of Canakkale is too riled up to take a seat being offered by the younger passengers.
“We went out to protest because we are against gold mines using cyanide. We went to protect our forest, water and animals living in these mountains. We want to live, we don’t want to get cancer,” the retiree said.
Alamos Gold acquired the Kirazli mining project, located in an ecologically rich region of Turkey, in 2010. The construction of the mine has infuriated locals and activists, after the recent release of drone footage showing massive deforestation and revelations that cyanide will be used in the processing of the gold. There has been outrage on Turkish social media and thousands of people from all over the country have come to protest.
“I was born and raised here. My kids will grow up here. I want this nature to be protected, I don’t want it to be destroyed like this,” a 38-year-old English teacher said. “I don’t want a foreign country to come to my country, make a deal and trick the villagers with a bit of money,” she added, referring to local villagers who have been employed by the company.
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