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Activists Rally for Green Spaces in Tbilisi

A small group of activists tries to keep up pressure on capital city’s authorities by a round-the-clock protest outside the Tbilisi City Hall since August 17, demanding institutional reforms that would secure policies oriented towards preserving and developing public green spaces. The protest, led by Guerrilla Gardening, started after dozens of trees were cut on August 17 to make way for construction of two mixed-use buildings on the Kazbegi Avenue in Tbilisi’s Saburtalo district. Claiming that healthy trees were cut down illegally, activists demand resignation of head of Tbilisi City Hall’s environment and green spaces municipal service, Nino Sulkhanishvili, as well as reform of this municipal service. Prosecutor’s office has launched investigation looking into legality of tree-cutting on the Kazbegi Avenue. Tbilisi Mayor, Davit Narmania, who had already been a target of criticism over various issues even before this recent case, said that he would decide whether to dismiss head of the municipal environment service only after the investigation is over. The Mayor, however, had to impose “moratorium” on tree-cutting in the capital city pending introduction of new regulations. Narmania, whose one of the election promises when running for Tbilisi mayor in 2014 was planting of one million trees, has also vowed to reform the city hall’s environment and green spaces municipal service. Activists erected a small tent outside the city hall on August 31 after winning case against the local authorities in the Tbilisi City Court, which ruled that the city hall had no right not to allow protesters placing the tent.

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