ATLANTA — Many Western companies have faced intense pressure to pull out of Russia. Atlanta-based Coca-Cola is one that has not.
On Saturday, some Atlantans gathered in Centennial Olympic Park to rally for a boycott of Coca-Cola.
Organizers of that rally told Channel 2′s Michele Newell that by staying in Russia, the company is essentially helping “fund the invasion.”
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The Ukrainian community, other ethnic groups and even some Russians in Atlanta say they’ve sent emails to the Global Operations Team and they will continue to protest until they see a change.
“From tech, to oil to retail to automotive, they are pulling out. There’s absolutely no reason for Coca-Cola not to pull out,” activist Irina Bhatia said.
“I feel that the entire civilized world has to be very clear right now with their position, and that this is unacceptable,” activist Max Poliashenko.
The hashtags #BoycottCocaCola and #BoycottCoke are plastered all over Twitter and Facebook.
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“Since they are Atlanta-based, we have decided to let our opinion be known to them,” Bhatia said.
Activists say that before they protested, hundreds of emails were sent to Coca-Cola, demanding the company cease operations in Russia.
The company’s Russian website is still up and running.
Channel 2 Action News reached out to Coca-Cola, but has not heard back.
A statement on the company’s website says, in part,
Our focus is on our people and supporting humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine and the region. Our actions are coordinated with our bottling partner, Coca-Cola HBC. Together, our priority is the safety and wellbeing of our employees and their families. We remain in constant contact and are doing everything we can to support them and our communities.
Coca-Cola has also acknowledged how it is donating money to The Red Cross in Ukraine and refugees financially.
“The amount of money they are continuing to earn in Russia is exponentially higher than what they’re donating to the red crosses of the world,” Bhatia said. “It is not enough. The only thing that will suffice is if they stop doing business there.”
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The group is also calling on government officials to declare Ukraine a No Fly Zone and provide more aid to the country.
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