Georgia's Public Defender Sozar Subari expressed deep concern over the “alarming” disregard of property rights by the authorities over the last few months.
“It is very alarming that they [authorities] come and destroy other’s property, or force owners to “voluntarily” hand over their spaces, or pay GEL 15,000 for property, which costs one million, and even this sum is never paid,” Subari said on April 16.
“It reminds me of Soviet practices, when people were punished because they had property,” the Public Defender said.
Several restaurant owners in downtown Tbilisi, who “voluntarily” handed over the spaces occupied by their businesses to the state without any compensation held a protest rally on April 16, claiming that they were pressured into doing so by the authorities. The protesters plan to appeal to the courts to overturn the "agreements." They also demanded, in the meantime, that demolition of the buildings be postponed until the end of the summer.
However, Lasha Makatsaria, head of Tbilisi Municipality’s supervisory agency, said that the former owners had already been given a three-month stay – until April 15 - and as such, there would be no further delays.