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Church in spat with McDonald’s over space in downtown Kutaisi

24 January 2017
Screengrab from Rioni TV

It’s been over a week since protests began in Georgia’s third largest city, Kutaisi, over the planned construction of a second McDonald’s restaurant in the city.

On 13 January, the Kutaisi Post reported that clergy were among protesters, claiming that a church was planned for the same location that the new McDonald’s restaurant will open. Locals are reportedly concerned that the new restaurant will distort the authenticity of the city and are upset that the old clock on the square will need to be moved elsewhere.

McDonald’s purchased the location in downtown Kutaisi last year, and plan to finish construction of the restaurant in the next six months.

Protest against construction of McDonalds in Kutaisi (Kutaisi Post)

The Kutaisi Post later quoted Mayor of Kutaisi Shota Murghulia, as saying that 800 square metres has been allocated for the church elsewhere in the city, and that priests were satisfied with this.

But the protests aren’t over, with a number of people still not happy with the plans for a McDonald’s restaurant in the centre of the city. TV Company Rioni reported that activists have appealed to former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who put together the ruling Georgian Dream party, asking him to build an ethnographic museum at the location instead, claiming that Ivanishvili planned this project back in 2007.

There is already one McDonald’s restaurant in Kutaisi, located outside the city centre in the.

 

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