Protest in Batumi against cruise liner from Russia
Protest in Batumi
On the morning of July 31, the police arrested nine individuals during an ongoing protest at the port of Batumi southwest Georgia. The protest was led by residents of Batumi and aimed who oppose the arrival of the cruise liner Astoria Grande from Russia. The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs stated that despite numerous warnings from law enforcement, the protesters did not comply with their lawful demands.
The demonstration began during the night of July 30th and continued into the 31st. A few hours before the protest, the Ministry of Internal Affairs had closed off the streets near the port, and the area where the cruise liner was supposed to dock was barricaded with iron barriers.
This is not the first time the ship has made a stop in Batumi; it was also there on July 27th. On that day, the liner embarked from the port of Sochi and carried some Russian tourists who had made anti-Georgian statements in the media. This time, Russian tourists were offered a journey with the stars of the television channel RU.TV.
According to the Chairman of the Georgian opposition party “Lelo,” Irakli Kupradze, a Ukrainian citizen was also detained during the protest at the port of Batumi. Kupradze claims that the police confiscated personal belongings from the woman.
“A Ukrainian citizen was arrested, and they took away her phone, flag, and personal items. She is not allowed to make calls,” Kupradze wrote on Facebook.
The Astoria Grande is following a route from Sochi to Trabzon, Batumi, Amasra, Istanbul, and back to Sochi, carrying approximately 850 passengers.
The vessel operates under the flag of Palau and is run by the Turkish cruise company Miray Cruises International.
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On July 25th, it was announced that on July 22nd, the cruise liner ASTORIA GRANDE set sail from Sochi on a new route with a stop in the port of Batumi. This information was confirmed by the Georgian Maritime Transport Agency.
The publication “Echo of the Caucasus” reports that the cruise offers tourists the opportunity to visit the attractions of Batumi and taste dishes from the local cuisine. Additionally, the liner’s menu now includes traditional Georgian dishes.
In a report by the television channel Russia 1, the organizers believe that visiting the Georgian resort will significantly increase interest in the cruise, especially since “passengers will not need to obtain any additional documents.”
It is also worth noting that in January 2023, the administration of the port of Sochi announced that it was in negotiations with Georgia and the authorities of Abkhazia to begin navigation to their ports. At that time, Yuri Vladimir, the director of the Sochi port, stated that they planned to start the voyages by the summer of 2023. In response, the Georgian Maritime Transport Agency stated that they were not rushing and denied what was being discussed.