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Intruders Raid Gold Mining Company In Greece

"We do not understand these attacks ... we call on the authorities to defend legality and support any investment effort in our country, which is of crucial importance for its economic recovery," the statement says. It adds that the company's measures to ensure environmental safety exceed Greek and EU standards.

The attackers left the area on foot and placed logs on a road to delay firefighters, the officer said. Police believe the attackers used several getaway vehicles stationed some distance from the mine site, the officer said.

Police said they have detained 27 people for questioning early Sunday morning but all were subsequently released.

In a later statement Sunday evening, police said they have detained a further four persons and are looking for four more. They say they have also found a full face mask, a surgical mask and bloodstains. Forensics experts are examining evidence at the site.

Mine's supporters say that 1,200 jobs have already been created in an area that is especially hard hit by long-term unemployment. About 5,000 people also applied for an additional 200 jobs at the mine, said Giorgos Arvanitis, general secretary of the local miners' union.

"Who are they who come here and burn everything and threaten our lives?" Angelos Deliyovas, a mine employee told reporters Sunday. "We care for our livelihood and our lives. We have families and kids. The state should tell us what they are going to do about this."

"Tying employees with ropes and threatening (to burn) them, this is fascism. We will not let this pass by," says Arvanitis.

The Skouries project is the latest in a complex of mining facilities in the area. Hellas Gold holds mining licenses for an area covering 317 square kilometers (122 square miles) with proven and probable reserves of lead, zinc, silver, gold and copper.

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