Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti
On October 7th, President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Georgia for several hours. Tens of thousands people, mainly public officials gathered at Freedom Square in Tbilisi to meet Sarkozy.
Approximately 2 thousand public officials were brought from Kakheti region and the work of public services was paralyzed as a result. The regular trips from Kakheti to Tbilisi were cancelled due to renting the mini-buses.
Only the specialists of Chancellery and guards were left in the local government bodies and budgetary organizations on October 7th after 13:00 pm. The public officials were threatened they would be fired if they did not leave for Tbilisi.
The special lists of people who want to go to Tbilisi were drawn out on October 5th. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), the citizens were allowed to join the gathering after going through special checking. The attendees were prohibited to have photo or video cameras, flammable substances, bottles, sharp and breakable items.
The teachers of public schools also received assignments to meet Sarkozy in Tbilisi. “Last two lessons were not conducted in the schools. 10-15 teachers left from each school. The principal states that it is Ministry’s assignment and they are expecting most people from kakheti since we are the closest to Tbilisi in territorial terms. If we refused, they would have fired us,” – the teachers of public school of the village Velistsikhe stated.
On October 7th, after 13:00 pm, the work process was completely paralyzed in the local government bodies and budgetary organizations. Journalist of Kakheti Information Center found only 12 officials present in Gurjaani municipality for 16:00 pm when 120 employees work there. According to the specialist of Tourism Development Service Vova Imerlishvili, “every conscious individual should have been in Tbilisi to meet Sarkozy.”
The trips from Kakheti to Tbilisi have been cancelled. After 13:00 pm, it was possible to leave from Telavi, Gurjaani, Kvareli, Akhmeta and other cities of the region to Tbilisi only by taxis.
Gurjaani Department of Auto Transportation explained that all autobuses cancelled the trips since they had to transfer people from the region to Tbilisi and then bring them back.