Marches, street blockades and pickets to protest the construction of the Namakhvani hydro power plant (HPP) in western Georgia will resume today at 16:00, announces Varlam Goletiani, the leader of Rioni Gorge Defenders civic movement.
On May 25, from 16:00, there will be a march again, which will picket important places, so we call on the population of the capital not to stop until we achieve the result. The main thing is to bring this fight to an end. The government is constantly thinking about how long these people will be able to fight in this way, we have been fighting for 210 days and we will fight until we get a result", said Goletiani.
Many activists and locals are protesting the construction of the HPP claiming that the project was launched without sufficient research and a thorough consideration of risks, including immediate security risks due to active seismic activity.
The protesters say that in addition to the environmental threat, the government has 'relinquished state interests' in the contract with Enka, the contractor company for the construction of the Namakhvani HPP.
After fruitless negotiations between the protesters and the government, the decision was made to move the protest to the capital city of Tbilisi. They gathered in Tbilisi on May 23 and called on the government to fulfill their demands by 12 p.m. on May 24.
In response, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said yesterday that 'every citizen should know that speaking in the language of an ultimatum is categorically unacceptable'.
EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell called on the parties to start a dialogue on the Namakhvani HPP issue. He said that 'transparency is important in dealing with such issues'.
US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan said that 'it is important for the government to listen to and take into account the problems of the society'.