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‘Georgian March’ holds another demonstration

By Vladimer Napetvaridze
Thursday, September 14
After a month has passed from the first Georgian March, its organizers arranged a second demonstration on September 12. This time the march took place at a different place and with different demands. The location for the march included the territory of Open Society Georgia Foundation and Headquarters of Tbilisi mayoral candidate Kakha Kaladze.

On June 23, a moratorium on alienation of agricultural land to foreign citizens has been announced. According to it, the right to ownership of agricultural land was restricted to foreign nationals until an enactment of the constitutional law “on the Amendment to the Constitution of Georgia.”

A new norm has been formulated in the constitutional amendments, which grants the land a status of special importance and requires the organic law to regulate the property rights. But according to the information spread a few days ago, financial institutions and private banks will be allowed to temporarily, in maximum of 2 years period to register the agricultural lands. This news caused protests in some groups, as they fear the temporary abolishment of the moratorium will result in selling Georgian land to foreign citizens.

The organizers of the march accused the Government of alienating the Georgian land to foreigners. Regarding the accusations, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili made a following statement: "The statements that the temporary change in the moratorium is not in compliance with the Constitution are not true. The change applies only to the financial sector and for a limited period," stated Prime Minister Kvirikashvili.

On September 12, the organizers of the demonstration tried to break into Kaladze’s office, which resulted in the arrest of one of the activists. Similar to the first march held in July the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia joined the protesters. One of the leaders of the political party, MP Ada Marshania, stated by joining the demonstration she expresses her protest to the government's decision to sell the Georgian land to foreigners.

Tbilisi mayoral candidate Kakha Kaladze responded to the Georgian March stressing this was a deliberate fake campaign: "I think my position is clear to everyone about the alienation of the land and I have repeatedly made the statement about it. What we hear in recent days is a deliberate fake campaign, and it is in the interests of certain people. The fact that Georgian land will not be sold to foreigners, and this [statement] will be written in the Constitution is the merit of our team,“ says the mayoral candidate of the ruling party.

The organizers gave the government a week to consider their demands otherwise they say more followers will take to the streets.