Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on 27 August commented on the removal of a minaret from the mosque in the village of Chela. Saakashvili suggested that dismantling of the minaret was an "intentional provocation."
"I would like to comment on the injustice that took place against the Georgian muslims that angered many Georgian orthodox christians. What happened in Adigeni was, in my opinion, an intentional provocation, which will eventually lead to confrontation between the Georgians with different beliefs. This is a continuation of a several month-long trend. The fact that such facts did not happen during the previous government was not a result of fear, it was a result of the fact that we used to constantly reiterate – everyone is equal in Georgia, Georgia belongs to everyone," the President said, adding that for muslims removing a minaret equals to removing of cross for the christians.