Tbilisi, August 29, 2013
A group of Orthodox Christians blocked a road in Georgia on Thursday to prevent the return of the metal skeleton of a minaret to the village from where it had been removed for an alleged customs formality.
The metal frame was made in Turkey, imported last month and installed in a mosque that was opened recently in the private house of Jambul Abuladze in the village of Chela, near the town of Akhaltsikhe. On Tuesday, the Revenue Service had it dismantled it and taken to Tbilisi for a formality that had allegedly not been performed during customs control in July.
The frame was on its way back to Chela when a group of people from Akhaltsikhe blocked the road it was being transported on.
"In many democratic countries it is forbidden to put up minarets, from which a mullah calls Muslims to prayer for the entire neighborhood to hear. Why shouldn't there be such a ban in Orthodox Georgia? There should be a referendum on the issue of construction of minarets in Georgia. No one should be allowed to put them up at their homes if they like to," one of the protesters, Oleg Sandroshvili, told reporters.
Georgian media said there were police on the protest site.