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Detained while protesting transfer of tree

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, February 7
Members of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition were detained on February 5 as they protested a traffic jam caused by the transfer of a 100-year-old Magnolia tree currently owned by the ex-Prime Minister and founder of the current ruling Georgian Dream party, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.

UNM members Elguja Bagrationi and Bondo Tedoradze were arrested at a rally held during the transfer of the huge tree.

“Elguja Bagrationi and Bondo Tedoradze were impeding the transfer of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s trees. They were demanding the legal opening of the road, as due to the trees, the road was practically blocked. Police officers arrested them and took them to a police station,” the opposition members said.

The Interior Ministry's press service said the people were arrested for disobeying the lawful demands of police officers.

Last year, Ivanishvili also transported a 100-year-old tulip tree along the Black Sea coast, from where it was then transferred to Ivanishvili’s dendrological park in Shekvetili, in western Guria region.

Ivanishvili, who united several opposition parties and created the Georgian Dream coalition prior to the 2012 Parliamentary elections, defeated the nine-real rule of the United National Movement party and served as PM for a year.

Before coming to politics, even photos of him were rare, but people respected him for his philanthropic activities, and this public approval played a key role in his eventual victory.

After winning the elections, Ivanishvili became Prime Minister, but quit the post shortly afterwards, saying he was moving to the civil sector in order to empower the field.

Current opposition is sure that the statement had nothing to do with his real intentions, and Ivanishvili still controls the party that he formed and then quit.

If not for maintaining political influence and power, it seems unlikely that the government would allow someone to dig up ancient trees and replant them, and aid and abet them by blocking off roads.

Moreover, opposition insists the trees themselves are rare and will be at risk during their transfer. Moving them also creates traffic problems, but most importantly, the trees were public property; everyone could see them when visiting the seaside region, they grew naturally in the area, and there was simply no need to move them.

However the truth is that transfer of trees to the dendrological park initiated by Ivanishvili means that the trees would be better taken care and the park itself will be open for the general public. as for the blocking of the road it took couple of hours to carry out the hole process and opposition claims are targeted at discrediting Ivanishvili's philanthropic. activities.