Protests against pro-gov’t company’s quarry in northern Turkey banned

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The Governor’s Office of the Black Sea province of Rize has imposed a 15-day ban on demonstrations in one of its districts amid ongoing protests against the quarrying activities of a pro-government company, Turkish media outlets reported.

For several weeks a group of villagers has been protesting the opening of a stone quarry by Cengiz Holding in the İkizdere district of northern Rize, arguing that the project would adversely affect their means of earning a living as well as natural resources in the region.

A statement released by the governor’s office on Monday noted that all protests, marches, demonstrations and handing out of flyers in İkizdere have been banned as of May 17 to protect public order and safety and to prevent provocative actions that harm national unity and solidarity.

The stone from the quarry in İkizdere will be used for a project known as the İyidere Logistics Center and Port, which is being built by Cengiz Holding. As attention on the protests increased, Cengiz Holding and Ankara have been forced to defend the project. Cengiz said recently it was the government that decided on the quarry’s location, while the transport ministry insisted the environment would not be damaged.

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