Mayor’s Office Restricts Street Trading in Tbilisi

The Tbilisi Mayor’s Office has started to restrict street trading in the Georgian capital, claiming that illegal stalls in the busiest places of the city prevent movement on the sidewalks, create problems of cleanliness and hygiene, and disturb the local population and tourists with noise and unsanitary conditions.

City Hall explained that despite the fact that street trading is not permitted under Article 153 of the Administrative Code of Georgia, people continue to do it.

On Sunday, representatives of the Mayor’s Office removed stalls from the Aghmashenebeli Avenue and Marjanishvili Metro Station area. The Mayor’s Office plans to continue this course of action in other districts of Tbilisi, especially central parts of the city.

The City Hall statement says that the needs of those citizens for whom street trade is the only source of livelihood will be also met.

“The government of the capital offers such vendors alternative places in different markets. At the moment, talks are underway with the directors of the markets in order to offer spaces to street vendors for free over several months,” the statement of the Mayor’s Office reads.

The state first began intervening in small trade markets after the Rose Revolution of 2003 because the kiosks and vendors in these public spaces did not fit the modernization agenda of the post-revolutionary government. The government has recently been trying to control the illegal vendors, but traders are developing diverse and creative tactics to subvert governmental regulations and avoid punishment.

By Thea Morrison

20 March 2017 13:13