Protesting Restaurant Construction in the Turtle Lake Recreational Zone, Tbilisi

Protesters gathered to block exit of special equipment brought here to remove greenery from the selected 2000 square meter recreational zone near Turtle Lake (Kus Tba) in Tbilisi, that was transferred to a private company to build a restaurant.

Allegedly, the company is owned by people affiliated with the United National Movement of Georgia with ties in Tbilisi city hall. The transfer of the land was performed couple of years ago, when UNM ruled in the parliament and other local representative bodies.

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City hall’s special equipment was blocked by private cars to prevent them leaving the square’s premises

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Protest was planned at 5PM but after information leak in Facebook people started to gather on the spot.

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Police arrived to monitor the situation but they could not restrict the gathering outside the fence, hence they left soon.

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The billboad, that according the law had to be installed long time ago informing the public about the ongoing project, was installed just yeasterday, after the information leak.

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Below, a representative of M Group, the company owned by UNM member Archil Gegenava, who allegedly initially owned the land before it formally changed the owner. The man claimed that the restaurant was designed as a “family-recreational project”.

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Special truck for safe removal of vegetation and trees

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The territory that has to be cleared for the restaurant.

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Removed portion of the square, loaded on the truck “to be re-planted” elsewhere.

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Cars and protesters blocking the exit from the zone.

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After some hesitation and cellphone back-and-forth exchange, the restaurant company representatives decided to avoid direct confrontation with protesters and ordered the workers to put plants back into the ground.

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“Restaurants do not produce Oxygen!”

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Plants returned to their place, however not sure whether they will survive the Summer heat in this condition.

The M Group representative said although they have all legal rights to proceed with the project, they won’t do so until the final clarification with the authorities and the public.

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2 thoughts on “Protesting Restaurant Construction in the Turtle Lake Recreational Zone, Tbilisi”

  1. fantastic post, and generally an amazing blog. i’m a student from the u.s. studying architecture and visiting georgia next week on a travel fellowship. any chance that you’ll be in tbilisi for an interview?

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