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Georgia: Liberal Values Suffer Setback

Patrons of the Kiwi Café stand outside the vegan restaurant in Tbilisi’s historic center. Café staff said that after a late May disturbance, the landowners and neighbors made it clear that the café is not welcome in the neighborhood. (Photo: Giorgi Lomsadze)

Intolerance appears to have the upper hand in an ongoing food fight in the Georgian capital Tbilisi.
 
Proprietors at an embattled vegan restaurant, the Kiwi Café, say they feel compelled to close doors at the establishment’s current location following a May 29 incident, in which alleged nationalists stormed the restaurant and peppered patrons with sliced meat. The suspected assailants are regulars at a war-themed bar.
 
The fight involving the Kiwi Café, a liberal counterculture joint in the city’s historic center, and the Military Bar, is a reflection of social and cultural tensions that are bubbling to the surface in the former Soviet republic.
 
Kiwi Café employees say that after the late May incident, the landlord and neighbors made it clear that the café patrons were no longer welcome in the neighborhood. The community apparently has an issue with the looks of the café’s staff and patrons.
 

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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance journalist based in Tbilisi. He is a frequent contributor to EurasiaNet.org's Tamada Tales blog.

Georgia: Liberal Values Suffer Setback

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