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Ministers arrive in Namakhvani to have a meeting with activists

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, March 8
It has been more than 135 days since the activists started protesting the construction of Namakhvani HPP. On Friday, Ministers of Georgia arrived in Namakhvani to meet the protestors and discuss the situation.

The meeting, which was called delayed by the 'gorge guards', was preceded by a two-hour-long meeting with Tsageri residents over the construction of the Namakhvani HPP, where the government officials tried to persuade people that the Namakhvani HPP would not pose a threat to the gorge.

The meeting was not attended by Riony Valley guards due to the initial reports saying that the meeting would be held behind closed doors. The attendance of the media was not planned either, however, after the protest of journalists, the Minister of Economy decided to open the meeting.

It was after Tsageri's meeting that the ministers decided to go to Namakhvani and talk about the future meeting and format with the Rioni Valley guards.

The activists were straightforward; one of them, Maka Suladze, told the Ministers that their arrival was delayed. She said that the Ministers were so late that the police managed to dismantle the riots twice, “which was very insulting to us – people who tried to guard our own country.”

The meeting was scheduled for March 12, but as one of the protesters, Varlam Goletiani says a large rally scheduled for March 14 will still take place.

Before the meeting in Tsageri, the Minister of Economy Natia Turnava noted that she was ready to answer all the questions. She also said that everyone who asks questions is protesting sincerely, however, “they might not fully understand the situation.” She also said that the government would try to make sure that everyone understands that Namakhvani HPP, and other HPPs as well, have to be built in Georgia.” It should be said that because of the ongoing pandemic, we were not able to give full information to the people, that's why there are so many questions,” added Turnava.

The government's meetings with the population on the Namakhvani HPP were planned after Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili instructed the ministers to visit the site.