Protest staged in opposition to Kikvidze Park construction
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, February 27On Sunday, police in Tbilisi arrested six activists at a protest rally against the removal of trees from Kikvidze Park.
The protesters have already been released, however it is still unclear whether the clearing of trees from the park was legal.
This was the latest in a series of protests by local activists and environmentalists, who have been opposing changes made to Kikvidze Park for the construction of a new police station in Tbilisi’s Nadzaladevi district.
Among the arrested activists was Lasha Chkhartishvili, of the Conservative Party, who is also an active campaigner on environmental issues. Police detained him at the construction site when he tried to obstruct a digging machine from carrying out its work.
A representative of the Georgia’s Way party was also arrested. Four others detained by police are activists from the youth wing of Georgian Dream.
Later that same day, the Tbilisi City Court fined Chkhartishvili and two others 400 GEL each and released them. Chkhartishvili said his actions were not illegal because he was obstructing “illegal construction” in the park.
Tina Khidasheli, one of the leaders of the Republican Party, has raised the legality of the construction with Tbilisi City Hall. “I hoped that majority representatives would have [also] raised the issue concerning the park problem,” Khidasheli said, demanding that officials from relevant city departments respond to criticisms. “We know that the police department would be built there, [but] we demand documentation on who made the order for the construction process, who endorsed the project, and so on,” she noted.
Khidasheli expressed hope that the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office will present the requested documentation by today.