Street Trading Banned in the Capital
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, August 11Street-trading has been banned in the capital – Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava confirmed this on August 10. According to the Mayor nearly 4000 street vendors will be moved into closed markets and they will be given some leeway.
“About 15 thousand people are selling goods in the markets and about 4 thousand outside on the streets. There are around 6 thousand vacant places left in the market. About 15 thousand people working in the markets have urged us to ban street vending, or they would also have to go out in streets. What would Tbilisi look like if that really happened? Even if this seems very painful, it is the right way, since on the one hand they will be able to keep their jobs, and on the other the environment will be clean and the sanitary situation improved. In addition those former street vendors will not have to pay a fee for a place in the closed markets until the end of the year,” Ugulava stated.
Street vendors, together with members of the opposition protested against the decision, the same day they held demonstrations in front of the Tbilisi Mayor's offices, “Late at night, on August 9, police raided the street vendors' belongings near Delisi Metro Station, breaking and moving them. The statement that those people would be given alternative places is far from reality, in addition, the fee in closed markets is too high and the vendors will not be able to pay it,” Lasha Chkhartishvili, from the Conservative party stated adding that the street vendors' rallies would continue until they receive permission to return to their former street vending territories. A large street rally, in which all street vendors from different parts of Tbilisi will participate, will be held on August 11, opposite the Tbilisi Mayor's office.