August 25, 2010
TBILISI — Four internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Georgia’s breakaway republic of Abkhazia have sewn their mouths shut in a protest at being moved from dwellings in Tbilisi, RFE/RL’s Georgian Service reports.
The four are among around 10 IDPs taking part in a hunger strike to protest being evicted from abandoned former government buildings which are being privatized and sold.
The Georgian government has offered to move the families affected to a village (Potskhoetseri) near the western Georgian town of Zugdidi, where international organizations have built them new houses. But the IDPs argue that there are no jobs in the area, and they will not be able to provide for their families.
The hunger strikers are among dozens of IDPs protesting outside the Ministry for Refugees in Tbilisi on August 25.
Authorities have not dispersed the protesters because they say the participants are not breaking the law or blocking traffic.
There were some 240,000 Georgians in Abkhazia in 1989, most of whom fled during the 1992-1993 war when the pro-Moscow region broke away from Georgian control.