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The traders blame the Gori municipality city hall in the damage of their properties

28.04.2020

 
Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

Marina Gagloshvili is one of the traders, who blame the municipal service of the supervision in the damage of her property. “They came during the curfew and dismantled our counters. I had four counters and each of them cost 500 GEL; in total I lost the property of 2 000 GEL,” Gagloshvili said.

Gori municipality city hall decided to resolve the problem of street trading on April 15 during the state of emergency and curfew. 

After the state of emergency was announced in the country for the prevention of the spread of the COVID-19, one of the restrictions applied to the trading places. The people who traded in the territory of the Gori auto-station state that they obeyed the order of the government about restrictions and it is unclear for them why the counters were dismantled; moreover, they had agreement with the Gori municipality mayor to continue trading in the area until August 2020 and then they planned to move to the new trading place offered by the city hall. 

“After the government established the restrictions, we stopped trading in the street. We reached agreement with the mayor to continue our commercial activities in the same area until August and then we would move to the place they will offer but they forgot this agreement, took advantage of the state of emergency and damaged our property,” Marina Gagloshvili said.

“The local government took advantage of the state of emergency and resolved the problem of street trading during the curfew,” municipal assembly member from the United National Movement Vasilisa Jabakhidze said, who added that the traders are already harmed with the state of emergency and the supervision service further aggravated their situation by dismantling the counters without warning. 

“It is a pity that during the pandemic, the regional governor and municipality mayor found time to leave the street traders without income. The people trading around the auto-station followed all recommendations but the supervision service, without warning, found time to dismantle their properties during the curfew,” Vasilisa Jabakhidze said.

Unlike the traders and opposition members, the regional governor does not think the supervision service of the city hall made anything illegal by dismantling the counters.

“It was no raid. The city hall had requested this group many times to close similar places, because there was high risk of the spread of the virus,” Giorgi Khojevanishvili said.

The local government used the state of emergency to ban the street trading instead restricting it because of pandemic. The Gori municipality city hall offered the traders to continue trading in the alternative place without restriction.

“They took big part of the counters; those, who have not taken yet, can take them now. As for the others, the street trading is prohibited and they were warned several times already. The city hall offered them alternative spaces in the places where trading is allowed. For example, the territory of the market “Twenty-first”, in Tsmindatskali settlement, in Shio Mgvime street, and more,” representative of the public relations service of the municipality city hall Natia Mdinaridze clarified. 

HRC lawyer Aleksi Merebashvili thinks the city hall had to warn the traders about dismantling their counters in advance and if the traders had not taken adequate measures to remove the counters, the supervision service could dismantle the counters without damaging the others’ property.

“Unless they warned the traders in advance, it means they blatantly violated the rights of the traders,” Merebashvili said.

The traders do not exclude possibility that they will appeal the court against the city hall because the counters were so much damaged during dismantling that they will not be able to use them in the new places of trading.  

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