Seven Colombian men, all former General Motors employees, have sewn their mouths shut as part of a hunger strike that is now in its third week. The demonstrators, stationed outside the U.S. embassy in Bogota, are protesting their termination from the GM Colmotores plant.
As reported by The Toronto Star, the men say that GM fired them after they incurred various debilitating job-related injuries, rather than help them obtain the proper medical treatment. 35-year-old Jorge Parra, speaking on behalf of the group, told reporters (he and the other demonstrators can apparently still mumble through their sewn-shut lips) that the men want compensation for their medical expenses and assistance getting new employment. Parra says that he and his fellow demonstrators are willing to die for their cause.
“I have terrible pains I’m my stomach, my lips are swollen and sore, and I am having problems sleeping… but I will not give up,” he said, according to the report.
General Motors responded to the action with a statement saying, “GM Colmotores is respectful of the law and has never put the health or the well-being of its employees at risk.”
Full coverage is available at The Toronto Star and a video from the protesters detailing their position is posted below.