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Opposition grills government for damaging Ali and Nino statue in Batumi

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, August 28
The opposition United National Movement (UNM) is accusing the current state leadership of committing a “barbaric act” and damaging one of the most distinguished monuments of Georgia’s seaside Batumi town, the Ali and Nino statue.

The monument was damaged on August 26 in the process of dismantling that according to the local authorities was caused owing to the monument’s safety, as the rough sea created a threat to its foundations.

“We wanted to move the monument 50 meters further from the shore as the sea was washing away its basement,” the Batumi Boulevard director said.

He stated that while lifting the monument, a cable broke and the Nino part of the monument fell against the nearby concrete wall.

He also said that the company was selected through a tender and the monument's architect, Tamar Kvesitadze, had been informed about the incident.

The company responsible for the move claims that the cable was not broken and that the monument “slightly” crashed a wall.

“There is slight damage that will be repaired shortly,” the company representative said.

The opposition United National Movement (UNM) representatives in Batumi said that the issue of moving the monument should have been decided by Batumi City Hall.

However, according to him, the City Hall opposition members had no information concerning the incident.

The UNM also stated that the local government were simply removing monuments instead of engaging coast-protecting activities.

The UNM central office has stated that the “barbarians who are in the state leadership” found time to damage a visit card of Batumi.

They stressed that the current leadership was against any modernity.

The Statue of Love sculpture of Ali and Nino was inspired by the love story of “Ali and Nino” by Kurban Said.

The story is similar to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and tells of an Azerbaijani youth who falls in love with a Georgian princess but dies defending his country.

The 7 meter statues start their motion at 7 P.M every day and are controlled by computer and lit with dramatic colour.

The statue was erected in 2010, under the previous government.