fire trucks

Sixteen firefighters are on strike in Tbilisi against what they claim is a corrupt leadership. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–16 firefighters in Tbilisi are on a strike to demand the resignation of the head of the emergency service, Temur Giorgadze.

The firefighters, who have been on strike for six days, claim that Giorgadze hires his friends and relatives, is corrupt and abuses powers.

They further claim he is forcing employees of the emergency service to do construction work at his house and villa.

The firefighters have put up tents outside the central branch of the emergency service on Saburtalo street in Tbilisi. Five of them are on hunger strike. One of them has been taken to hospital several times, but returned and continued protesting.

Spokeswoman Nino Giorgobiani said Monday that the Ministry of Internal Affairs has questioned the firefighters about the claims they have made, but decided to not launch an investigation into the accusations against Temur Giorgadze or the emergency service.

Giorgadze claims that firefighters are doing it to discredit the emergency service. He demands that they present evidence to back up their accusations.

The emergency service chief says there are about 1200 people employed at the agency and 450 of them are firefighters. He said the protest does not interrupt the normal operation of the service.