Tuesday, June 15, 2021
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Two detained as Namakhvani HPP protesters, police clash in Rioni gorge

Two individuals have allegedly been detained as police and protesters of Namakhvani hydro power plant construction clashed in Rioni Gorge, Varlam Goletiani, the leader of Rioni Gorge Defenders’ civic movement said. 

The protesters, who moved from the Georgian capital of Tbilisi to Rioni gorge yesterday, were holding a demonstration at the iron wall in Gumati village.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has released a statement calling on the protesters to maintain order and remain calm. Otherwise, it said the police will act within their mandate and respond to any violation of law. 

Many activists and locals are protesting the construction of the HPP claiming that the project was launched without sufficient research and a thorough consideration of risks, including immediate security risks due to active seismic activity. Photo: Mzia Saganelidze/RFERL

The protesters say that in addition to the environmental threat, the government has ‘relinquished state interests’ in the contract with Enka, the contractor company for the construction of the Namakhvani HPP.

Enka Renewables (previously known as Clean Energy Group Georgia LLC) has meanwhile announced that it has partially suspended the movement of heavy equipment to prevent escalation on the ground. 

It however added that other preparatory activities are underway as planned, within the framework of the current legislation and based on the existing permits.

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