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Georgians get evicted from Tbilisi2010-07-28 18:40
At 6 am Georgian policemen started eviction of refugees from Samshoblo building in the center of Tbilisi putting cordons as if these were public enemies expelled from their settlements - not miserable victims of the country leaders' insane policies. These people lost homes in early 1990s, at the time of the war that made Georgian population flee Abkhazia. Now they are evictees for the second time - again through the fault of official Tbilisi.
The refugees have been fearing this day for a long time. Privatization of Samshoblo (Motherland) editors' office in the center of the Georgian capital was scheduled long before they were brought there. In 2007 in a similarly undemocratic way a number of Georgian newspapers, magazines, TV and radio companies were thrown out of the editors' office planned to be sold at an auction.
Selling the facility failed twice: at first the authorities wanted USD 20 mln, then USD 12 mln. Now they can put a still cheaper price and sell it to "right people" for a symbolic amount, as the opposition fears.
Three years ago it turned into a temporary residence for refugees from Abkhazia and then from South Ossetia.
Two weeks ago people were warned about a new displacement and were offered Zugdidi district as a new settlement location. Maybe the authorities thought that closeness to Abkhazia would make the Georgians that left it happy? However, the result was opposite: people launched demonstrations refusing to go to the countryside, a dangerous zone near the Abkhaz border abandoning jobs in the capital and educational institutions in Tbilisi where their children go to. Besides, the government offers no alternative to some evicted families.
Several participants of the protest rally at the presidential residence that took place last Friday in Avlabar were arrested. As Lasha Chkhartishvili, a Conservative sympathizing with the refugees stated, the police did not take pains to inform what laws Ramakh Galdiani, Otar and Roman Chketiani had violated. They were detained for a while and eventually released. Detention itself looked more like kidnapping. The Conservatives believe that it was an attempt to intimidate people by the authorities.