Over a thousand community members adversely affected by Coca-Cola marched to the Coca-Cola factory premises in Mehdiganj, near the holy city of Varanasi in India on November 24, demanding that the factory shut down.

    The march in Mehdiganj was the end of a 10 day, 250 km march from Ballia, the site of another Coca-Cola bottling facility, to Mehdiganj, bringing attention to Coca-Cola`s negative impacts on communities across India.

    Communities living around Coca-Cola`s bottling plants across India are facing severe water shortages, and the groundwater and soil have also been polluted, directly as a result of Coca-Cola`s bottling operations in the area.

    Towards the end of the rally, the marchers decided to march to the factory gates, about a hundred meters from the site of the rally. The armed police reacted violently and swiftly, with no warnings. The

    Over 350 of the marchers were arrested, with close to 100 with injuries, and they were held without being booked overnight.

    “Coca-Cola is stealing our water, our land and getting away with it legally. And they are calling our struggle for our livelihoods, our existence, illegal”, said Nandlal Master, one of the organizers from Lok Samiti and the National Alliance of People`s Movements. “We do not accept this, and our struggle with prevail”, continued Master.

    Full report at http://www.indiaresource.org/press/2004/mehdiganjattack.html

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