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People Did not Believe Memorial to Victory Will Be Exploded on December 19

Shorena Kakabadze, Kutaisi

In Kutaisi, society is getting more anxious about the explosion of the Memorial to Victory. Several days after the accident, new details were exposed and it reinforces the doubt that the deconstruction of the monument was carried out earlier, in a hurry and consequently through violation of security norms.

Local residents state they were warned about the deconstruction but they were not told the exact date.

“They told us they intended to explode the monument but we were not told the exact date. Initially they said President Saakashvili was coming to Kutaisi on December 21 and was going to attend the explosion himself. This information was spread among population and we waited for December 21. But in the morning of December 19 they visited every residential building and warned inhabitants to leave the flats immediately,” recalled Giorgi Gabriadze, living nearby the memorial.

Head of Kutaisi office of the Republic Party Nato Katamadze also confirmed the information that the memorial was due to be deconstructed on December 21. “Members of political parties held press-conference in front of the Kutaisi City Hall on December 18. Initially we protested their intention to deconstruct the Memorial to Victory and stated officially that on December 21, we planned to arrive on the place and prevent the explosion. The government learned about our plans and avoided complication of the situation. It is natural that they did not want anybody to prevent their intention. Thus, they harried up and it ended with tragedy.”

Kutaisi dwellers think the deconstruction was spontaneous. Despite several preparation works carried out by the local authority – more precisely by the municipality board, nobody could think that everything was ready for deconstruction. They say the municipality board signed agreement with the Sakpetkmretsvi Ltd.

“They said wooden fence was to be installed round the entire territory before the deconstruction and the memorial was to be wrapped in iron network. They started to speak about it when we expressed our doubts about security. Finally, everything was done without fence and iron network. I think people did not believe that they were going to explode the memorial on December 19. Patrol police was warning us to stay far from the memorial but finally it turned out not enough for security. I was two meters away from the place where the large piece of concrete monument killed mother and daughter. Thus, neither I nor others were safe from tragedy,” said witness Temur Gognadze.

Warning of patrol policemen could not protect people from material damage. Although local inhabitants left windows open according to given directions, the power of explosion smashed almost every window. People installed new glasses in the windows because it is winter but they are thankful to the god they survived. However, in a respectful country the state was to compensate the damage of local inhabitants. People doubt the explosion could impact the residential buildings and it will be exposed in near future with cracks on the walls.

“I am not a physicist and specialist of explosion, but I am sure such a strong explosion could damage the fundament of these buildings. Who can be sure that tomorrow our houses will not be cracked? Yes, several people were detained and they will be judged for the accident but what we will benefit from it. Or who will compensate the family of the dead woman and child who were sacrificed to the incompetence of other people,” complained 81-year-old Sergo Kashibadze.

Although the law enforcement bodies detained head of Sakpetkmretsvi Ltd and two other representatives of the company, and Imereti regional governor was fired, people demands corresponding reaction on the accident. People think not only those responsible for explosion shall be punished for the tragedy but those who gave political order too.

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