Georgians Violently Protest against Their Government And Russia

Georgians Violently Protest against Their Government And Russia

In Georgia the situation is tense. On June 20th, a Russian deputy gave a speech at the Georgian Parliament after which people started demanding Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze and the government resign. 

During the Orthodox Inter-Parliamentary Summit held in Tbilisi, a conflict began after the speech of Russian Duma Deputy Sergey Gavrilov. The Ambassador of Ukraine in Georgia left the hall. At 7 p.m., demonstrators were already in front of the Parliament building and were protesting against the Government, chanting the words “Russia is occupier.”  

The consequent demonstration started peacefully. By that time several Georgian politicians had made statements regarding the speech of the Russian official at the Parliament. They called it a disgrace. 

“I am addressing to the police which were created by me, to act against Ivanishvili and take the protesters’ side,” former Georgian President Mikhail Sahakashvili posted on his Facebook page.  

On June 20, from 11 p.m. the police started using tear gas and rubber bullets, which continued during the whole night. Protestors would leave the area for a while because of the gas and then again gather at the same place. To stop the protest, water cannons were also brought to the area. The violence started when protestors forced their way into the Parliament building. 

After these events a statement was released by Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, “What happened today was a big crime, however it does not justify anti-governmental activities at all. Russia is our enemy and I would like to highlight one more time that no one needs our society to split other than Russia. Today Russia used one of its most powerful weapons.”  

After the civil unrest at night there were a great deal of injured and arrests. The number of casualties has reached 240 out of which 108 are hospitalized; 80 are policemen. Two people lost an eye. Among the tinjured there are also representatives from the media. Currently only 32 of them are identified.  

On June 21, in the morning, a statement was released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia which said, “As the society has witnessed, the protest of the participants gathered in front of the Parliament went beyond the freedom of expression and peaceful assembly prescribed by the law and has turned into violence. Accordingly, in order to prevent breaking into the Parliament premises, injuring of citizens and police, as well as physical confrontation, Police used special means of proportional force in compliance with the law.”

Later on June 21 another statement was made by the ruling Georgian Dream Party which approved the resignation of chairman of Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze. In the evening, Rustaveli Avenue was full of more than 10,000 Georgians who gathered in front of the Parliament building. The demonstration ended peacefully.  

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