The messenger logo

Alternative spaces to street vendors

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, April 4
Tbilisi Mayor’s Office has offered alternative markets to the street vendors whose stalls have been removed after the City Hall decision to ban street trading.

The Association of Markets offered the vendors to continue trading near the central railway station, Dinamo Arena, Didube Metro Station, and the Isani and Samgori markets.

“We can allocate trading areas for over 3,000 traders. All interested people can apply to the administrations of the markets for registration,” the statement of the Association of Markets reads.

Tbilisi City Hall says the heads of the markets will provide the street traders with all necessary conditions.

“As a result of the negotiations held by the Tbilisi government it has been decided that the Association of Markets will provide street traders with new locations for 6 months with privileged conditions and ensure all necessary conditions for the realization of their goods,” the statement of the Mayor’s Office reads.

The vendors do not accept the offer of City Hall. They say that permanent protest rallies will be held until the Mayor’s Office legalizes street trading.

The traders say that after the 6 months worth of privileges, they will not be able to pay market taxes, as they sell very cheap products.

“We all are very poor people. We have bank loans and street trading is the only way to feed our families. All we ask is the right to sell our products in the street,” one of the traders stressed.

Several days ago, Deputy Mayor Irakli Lekvinadze held a special briefing and stated that illegal street trading has been banned in Tbilisi.

The Deputy Mayor underlined that Tbilisi residents also demanded the restriction of street trading as the poor sanitary conditions, noise and absence of hygiene disturb them.

“All illegal activities will be followed by proper measures. Tbilisi City Hall will do its best to prevent street trading and speculation over the issue will not hinder this process,” Lekvinadze said.

Tbilisi Mayor’s Office started work to restrict illegal street trading in the capital on May 19, saying illegal stalls in the busiest and most crowded places of the city prevent movement on sidewalks, create problems of cleanliness and hygiene, and disturb the local population and tourists with their noise and insanitary conditions.