The anger is most palpable in Keratea, a town of 15,000 people 30 miles south of Athens which appears to have spun out of control. The state’s attempt to start work on a planned landfill site on a nearby hillside in December caused locals to set fire to construction vehicles and erect massive roadblocks on a road that bypasses the town and runs to the capital. It’s a fight that has galvanised the town, from the mayor and the local priest to shopkeepers, farmers, schoolteachers and teenagers.
A government spokesman, Giorgos Petalotis, condemned the violence, and said the government had no intention of abandoning its plans to build the landfill site, which it said would ease problems at Athens’s single rubbish dump. “We are the only authority that has comprehensive plans for [greater Athens] regional development. We will not abandon the effort that has been made and is currently being made to build this new facility,” he said.