Tbilisi Residents Protest Ivanishvili’s Panorama Project [Photos]

TBILISI – Around 400 activists gathered to protest on Saturday in Tbilisi’s Freedom Square to publicly reject a large construction project managed by Georgian tycoon and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Co-Investment Fund.

The Panorama Tbilisi project envisages the construction of a luxury hotel complex extending above the city’s historical Sololaki district.

The project has come under intense fire from historians, as well as NGOs, preservationists and activists who argue it must be scrapped before it threatens to destroy old Tbilisi’s unique architectural character, which is listed as an UN World Heritage Site.

The protest was organized by a coalition of more than twenty activist groups.
“We gathered today in order to protest a project that will ruin this city. This project’s scope is so large that it will influence the whole city. It doesn’t take into account urbanization issues, social aspects, environment protection, or protection of cultural monuments. The City Council’s aim is to achieve gentrification — a phenomenon that is destructive to the non-elite segment of the society. Economically unprivileged people in the area will be forced to move to the outskirts”, Nika Tsikaridze, an activist for Green Fist said.

At a previous protest on July 19, 2015, several individuals were arrested and taken into custody after speaking out against the Panorama Project.

The movement’s activists have said the protests will continue until the plans are withdrawn.

The complex within the Panorama Project will consist of a 5-star section on Freedom Square and a 4-star section in Old Tbilisi, with Sololaki becoming home to 4-star hotels.

Photo by Beqa Khakhnelidze

Photo by Alexander Giorgadze 

Photo by Alexander Giorgadze 

Photo by Alexander Giorgadze 

By Tamar Svanidze

Edited by Nicholas Waller

29 February 2016 17:59