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Ukrainian coal miners promise more protests

The miners from Ukraine’s Lviv, Volyn and Donetsk regions staged a picket near the Verkhovna Rada building demanding the government’s resignation

KIEV, December 23. /TASS/. About one thousand coal miners from Ukraine’s Lviv, Volyn and Donetsk regions have completed Wednesday’s protests outside the building of the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine. No officials approached the protesters, a TASS correspondent reported from the scene.

The picket began near the Verkhovna Rada building, where coal miners adopted a resolution on the inadmissibility of the coal industry’s collapse. They handed over this petition to the parliament and continued their protest demanding the government’s resignation. Then the protesters moved to the building of the Cabinet of Ministers where they tried to give this petition to representatives of the government. However, none of the officials approached them. Then the miners began banging their helmets against the pavement and the fence surrounding the building chanting "Shame!" and "Government to the Mine!"

Then a column of miners marched to the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry to demand the resignation of Energy Minister Vladimir Demchishin. The coal miners blocked part of the road near the ministry. They were carrying posters saying "Hungry Miner is Ukraine’s Shame" and "Do Not Destroy Mines." But none of the ministry officials approached them either. Security was tightened near the government buildings where miners’ protests were going on.

Head of the Independent Trade Union of Coal Miners of Ukraine Mikhail Volynets who stayed with the miners during the protest said that wage arrears in the industry had reached one billion hryvnia, adding that the miners demanded from the government competent distribution of the 312 million hryvnia allocated from the state budget to repay wage arrears.

Protesters say that, if their demands are not heeded, the protests would continue on a wider scale.