Chiatura hunger-strikers protest against Georgian Manangese at US Embassy in Tbilisi
Chiatura residents protest at the US Embassy, demand compensation from Georgian Manangese
For 21 days, five residents of the Shukruti village in the Chiatura region have been on hunger strike, demanding compensation from Georgian Manganese for the damage caused to their homes. They have now gathered outside of the US Embassy in Tbilisi in hopes of having their demands heard.
Local residents say their homes are in disrepair due to years of manganese ore mining.
Locals also complain about other environmental issues and say they live in a constant fear and health hazard.
Chiatura residents say that in addition to houses, their land plots have also damaged as the laying of mines in the vicinity of their village caused the appearance of cracks making the land plots completely useless.
The village of Shukruti is located in the Chiatura municipality in Western Georgia. In Soviet times, it was the center for the extraction and processing of manganese, however, it has done little to benefit the locals and the residents of the mining town live in extreme poverty.
On May 30, protesters marched from the village of Shukruti to Tbilisi and staged a protest in front of the US Embassy, asking the US ambassador to mediate in negotiations with the authorities
They spent the night in their cars because they were not allowed to put up a tent outside the embassy.
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On April 23, about 3,000 employees of Georgian Manganese and its subsidiaries went on strike in Chiatura.
The workers demanded a 50% increase in wages, better insurance packages, the transfer of labor contracts to employees, and an improvement in the overall environmental situation in urban and rural areas.
Local residents say that the Kvirila River, the air and drinking water are polluted, and the soil is deteriorating due to improper mining and processing of ore.
As a result, Georgian Manganese, which is run by the government via a designated special manager, reached an agreement was reached between the company and the employees, and they returned to their jobs.