Police detained eight persons late on May 27 over administrative offenses at a rally in western Georgia’s Gumati Village against the construction of the Namakhvani Hydropower Plant, the Interior Ministry confirmed to Civil.ge
The detentions followed a minor confrontation, as protesters, who have been rallying in the village over the last two days, attempted to cross over the police-raised iron fences but faced resistance from law enforcement officers on the ground.
The 28-year-old protest leader, Varlam Goletiani said the activists had not attempted to provoke a confrontation with police. “On the contrary, we are acting peacefully,” he added.
He said the protesters will stay and rally in Gumati until the police barriers are removed to allow protesters back in the Rioni Valley, where they remained previously until authorities dismantled their camp and restricted movement mid-April, in a widely criticized move.
Protesters returned to Gumati village on May 26, from Tbilisi, vowing to disrupt preparatory works for the project in the Rioni Valley, as the large-scale rallies held in the capital over four days did not yield a compromise from the government.
They are demanding that the government terminate its contract with the HPP investor, and that Enka Renewables, the company behind the construction, leave the Rioni Valley. The protesters also called for launching criminal investigations against officials involved in drafting and signing the deal, including Economy Minister Natia Turnava, as well as imposing a moratorium on similar projects until a coordinated energy policy is developed.
Follow our Namakhvani tag for earlier developments and background on the controversial project.
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