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Olympic construction again provokes protests, hunger strike in Sochi

Other News Materials 6 June 2010 05:06
Residents of the Imeretinskaya Valley have gone on hunger strike to protest against the construction of Olympic facilities, about a month after top Russian officials said all land disputes have been resolved, Russian media reported.
Olympic construction again provokes protests, hunger strike in Sochi

Residents of the Imeretinskaya Valley have gone on hunger strike to protest against the construction of Olympic facilities, about a month after top Russian officials said all land disputes have been resolved, Russian media reported.

Sochi, which will host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, has seen public protests over the planed demolition of housing in the Olympic construction area, RIA Novosti reported.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in early May that the issue of public protests over the planed demolition in the Olympic construction area was resolved "with a maximum attention for citizen's interests."

However, five residents of the Imeretinskaya Valley, which is to house Olympic Park with all indoor arenas and the Central Stadium, have been on hunger strike for 17 days already, the Rosbalt news agency reported.

"We do not agree with the estimated cost of our land, made by regional officials. Every day we send telegrams to the president and the prime minister, and we have also sent letters to the IOC," said Alik Le, who heads the protestors.

The protestors demand a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

"The regional media block all information about us. No one in Russia knows what is going on. Only foreign journalists visited us, they call us now and then and show their support," he added.

The government planned to provide those intended to be moved from Olympic construction areas with money compensations. However, a decision was then taken to estimate the market price of housing intended for demolition and provide locals with equal housing.

Meanwhile, about 200 environmental activists protested in Sochi on Saturday against the construction which they say damages the unique local ecosystem.

Olympstroy denied this claim and said all necessary measures had been taken to avoid damaging the local environment.

Seventy-two out of 242 Olympic facilities planned to be built in Sochi are already under construction.

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