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Former Gold Mine Worker Sews Mouth Shut to Protest Unfair Dismissal

Armen Yeranosyan, a resident of the town of Vardenis in Armenia's Gegharkunik province and a former locksmith at the province's Sotk gold mine, entered into the 5th day of a hunger strike today and stitched up his lips in protest of being “unfairly” fired from his job. 

Speaking to Epress.am, Yeranosyan, who has been staging his strike outside the Government building on Yerevan's Republic Square, said he was dismissed 5 months ago for drinking on the job. “It was my father's birthday, and I drank two shots of vodka to my [late] father at the end of the work day. However, just as I was leaving, management representatives came and fired me on the spot, saying that I was smelling of alcohol. I don't see why thay had to resort to such a drastic measure; they could have given me a reprimand instead or not give me a bonus that month,” the protester said, adding that he has been left in dire financial straits after losing his job.

“I could hardly make ends meet with that job; the salary was barely enough to pay off my loans. I had managed to reduce the size of the loans but they have doubled again now that I've been sacked and unable to pay. This is inhuman. I live with my 80-year-old mother in grave conditions, but I'm not asking for [financial] help or anything; I just want to get my job back so that I can make my own living.”

State officials, Yeranosyan went on, have yet to react to his protest action; “I will not unsew my mouth until I am called back to my job. I haven't gone home for 4 days, but no one [from the authorities] has come out to speak to me. No one cares about the fate of a citizen.”