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Georgian Police Detain 10 Strikers After Clash At Railway Office

Railway employees protest outside the offices of the Georgian Railway in Tbilisi on August 21.

TBILISI -- Police in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, have detained 10 protesters in front of the Georgian Railway (GR) office, after a brief brawl.

The Interior Ministry said the persons detained on August 25 are facing administrative charges of minor hooliganism and resistance to police.

The brawl took place after protesters tried to enter the GR office by force.

The protesters, some of whom have been on hunger strike for days, say the GR officials had threatened to fire two railway workers in response to their demand to compensate commuting expenses, which had dramatically increased after the employer moved them to a distant point to work.

The two workers launched their hunger strike in front of the Georgian Railway office on August 15, demanding the GR to return them to the locations where they had previously worked.

Nineteen union activists joined the hunger strikers later.

GR officials tried to solve the standoff by announcing via media that all employees whose work locations were moved to distant points will be reimbursed for travel and accommodation.

But the unions activists refused to accept the move, saying the situation must be regulated only by a written agreement with both sides' consent and the resignation of the two GR officials who had threatened the two employees.