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Refugees and Street Traders Unite in Protest

By Messenger Staff
Friday, August 13
Refugees and street vendors held a united street rally opposite the Presidential Residence in Avlabari, on August 12, where the IDPs demanded the replacement of the Minister of Refugees and resettlement, Koba Subeliani and the street vendors appealed for the President’s involvement in helping with arrangements to resolve their problems.

“The minister does not pay us any attention. Our appeals towards the ministry are being ignored. They are not interested in the conditions we have to live in. The only thing we get from the authorities is GEL 28 monthly assistance. The Government promised us that they would confirm the accommodations as our property, until our return to Abkhazia. However they cheated us,” one of the refugees, Dimitri Omanadze said.

The ministry has its reasons; ministry representatives said that some refugees are being moved to other buildings, where the living conditions are significantly better than in their former accommodations and that later those new apartments will be given to them as property.

As for the street vendors, their demands are related to another issue, in which, according to their statements, the President’s involvement is necessary. “Two years ago, when street vending was first prohibited, we tried to continue the same activity in closed markets. We moved there, I moved to Mukhiani closed market with GEL1000 worth of goods. However the fee for being there was too high and I had no profit that is why I returned back in the street. I appeal to the President and other authorities to regulate the issue so that the fee is not so high every day in the closed markets and protect the interest of vendors,” street vendor, Nanuli Mamasparashvili, said.

The opposition also participated in the street rallies. One active participant of the demonstrations from the Conservative party, Lasha Chkhartishvili said that the demonstrations will be continuous until the people’s demands are met.