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Strike for the environment

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Wednesday, April 17
The strike of Georgian youth, organized by the Non-Governmental Organization, Georgian Young Greens, took place in Tbilisi, near metro Rustaveli to protest the indifferent attitude towards Georgia's environment from the government.

“In response to your indifference and greed, we, the youth of Georgia, decided to strike, because you have already been given enough time, but there are no signs of change” – says the report released by the people on strike.

During the gathering, the strikers discussed their demands. As they said, they have decided not to go to schools today because they don’t feel safe there. “The walls of the schools and universities can no longer keep us safe; it can’t protect us from the air pollution, from the lead in our own blood, from catastrophic events happening around us every day.”

During the strike, the main points were made about the changes that are needed to keep the environment safe. Some of the demands are: restoring the Tram in Tbilisi, keeping the sidewalks free from cars, stopping constructions in Mtatsminda, making a central park in place of the old Hippodrome, and most importantly, the government should stop building the dams.

Students on the rally shared their views with each other, some of them held signs saying “Tbilisi Pollutes You”; “Time’s Up”; “No to the Destructive Dams” and many more. They also talked about the importance of green zones for Georgia, saying “I came here today because I want Tbilisi to be green and not full of huge buildings, I want to be able to breathe in my city.”

The strike was inspired by the protests of students all around the world. Some of the protests were held in countries like USA, Sweden, Germany, etc. Students from different backgrounds protested the lack of action from the governments towards climate change.

We decided to talk with one of the organizers of the strike, Giorgi Ptskialadze, to find out more about their goals and intentions.

When did you decide that it was the right time to go on a strike, and what pushed you to have this kind of expression for your protest?

This has a few reasons. We are the youth, those who are going to live in this country for the longest period of time. Sadly, in most of the cases, the government does not listen to the experts, especially when it comes to building the dams. So that is why we decided that it was the time to gather and do something.

Other than students, who do you think should support you during this protest?

We, the youth of Georgia, started the fight today, but we encourage older people to join us in this movement. We are going to gather at the same place on April 21, we want to let the government know what is the power of the people. Also, I would like to ask people from the regions to do the same, because the situation in other cities is not any better than in Tbilisi.

Tell us a little bit about the organization and your main goals.

Young Greens are political youth non-governmental organization, based on youth initiatives. Our main ideology is eco-socialism; thus, our fight spectrum is not only the environment. We fight for a better world without oppression.