After his speech in Tbilisi City Assembly, Mayor Davit Narmania stated that there is an ongoing investigation regarding the the felling of trees on Kazbegi Avenue, adding that it would be inappropriate to pinpoint blame until the investigation had concluded.
The assembly was forced to take a 20 minute break due to the noise levels caused by wrangling between civilians, NGO representatives and Assembly members during the Mayor’s speech. Assembly guards asked civilians and NGO representatives to leave the hall.
One of the activists asked to leave was Green Peace member Irakli Kupradze, who was trying to make a speech during the meeting about what the chairman of the assembly had told him, that he couldn’t put him before the members of the assembly, and after this he was forced to leave the room.
Before the break the Mayor of Tbilisi talked about the problems regarding landscpaing in the city and noted that there had been a high number of permissions issued recently to fell trees. According to the Mayor, the Ecology Department will be reorganised and receive a budget increase. Narmania says that after the elections there will be more strict regulations on illegally cutting off the trees.
Protesters left an axe outside the Assembly, to symbolize the felling of trees. Patrol police asked the protesters to remove the axe, but they refused to do so.
Environmental activists have maintained an ongoing protest regarding the felling of 100-year-old trees on Kazbegi Avenue since the 17th of August. One of the activists, Nata Pheradze, went on hunger strike before being taken ill and hospitalized after seven days of refusing food. After Pheradze was hospitalized, another activist, Elene Malashevski-Jayeli, started another hunger strike to take her place.