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Georgian Orthodox Christians Protest Minaret Restoration

A group of Orthodox Christians in Georgia's southern Samtskhe-Javakheti Province are protesting the restoration of the minaret of a local mosque.

Activists in the region's capital, Akhaltsikhe, blocked a road leading to the village of Chela on August 29 in an attempt to stop the return of the dismantled minaret.

Local authorities removed the minaret in Chela on August 26, sparking protests among Georgia's Muslims.

The Finance Ministry said the minaret was removed for inspections to verify if the materials used to build it were properly declared when they were imported into Georgia from Turkey in July.

The Grand Mufti of the Georgian Muslims' Directorate, Jemal Paksadze, had condemned the minaret's removal, calling it a violation of citizens' rights.

Authorities said they were returning the minaret back to Chela after carrying out inspections in Tbilisi.

Based on reporting by and Interfax

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