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Thousands of Greeks protest planned gold mine

Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest in Thessaloniki on Saturday March 9, 2013. More than 10,000 people took to the streets to protest against a planned gold mine operation by Canadian company Eldorado Gold Corp. in the peninsula of Chalkidiki that they claim will do irreparable damage to the environment. (AP Photo/Nikolas Giakoumidis)

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) -- More than 10,000 people have taken to the streets of Greece's second largest city to protest a planned gold mine they see as an environmental risk.

Police blocked the crowd's march to the Canadian Consulate in Thessaloniki, but Saturday's protest took place and ended peacefully. Eldorado Gold Corp., based in Vancouver, Canada, has been granted the rights to the gold mine in Halkidiki peninsula, east of Thessaloniki.

The company has established a camp employing 1,200 people and plans to begin digging soon.

The issue has bitterly divided Halkidiki residents, with some claiming the mine will harm tourism and release toxic substances, and others denying that and saying new jobs are crucial during Greece's severe economic crisis.

Last week, about 3,000 residents demonstrated in favor of the mine.