Georgian opposition. First blood
Filed Under: Politics, World | Posted: 05/06/2009 at 3:08PM
Comments | Region: United Kingdom (Great Britain)
Georgian opposition mass protests to dismiss current president Mikhail Saakashvili, started several months ago, marked with blood today. Participants of the rally had severe clashes with police 6 May.
By Russian news agency RIA Novosti, Georgian Home Office accused opposition to attack the police deliberately. Saakashvili opponents says the police used rubber bullets.
Wednesday 6 May, supporters of the Georgian opposition came to the Directorate of patrol police and urged to release 3 activists of youth movement «9 April», who were detained the day before, as they are suspected to offend verbally journalist from the Public television of Georgia.
By Georgian media the reason for clashes was the fact that brother of opposition leader — Georgiy Gachechiladze, got over the fence and penetrated into the court of Directorate of the police. Meanwhile participants started to throw sticks to policemen.
According some eye-witness reports, police asked for the help from special task forces and they used rubber bullets against civilians to force them leave the territory. According other sources policemen threw stones to the crowd and used sticks, taken from protesters and their own batons as well.
The United opposition leader Levan Gachechiladze injured, his head is broken. His face covered with blood broadcasted by all Georgian TV channels. His brother Georgiy Gachechiladze, known in Georgia under scenic pseudonyme Utsnoby, is said to be heavily injured and to be transported to hospital intensive case department.
Leader of the party «Novie pravie» (New rigths) David Gamkrelidze, leader of the «Partya budushego» (Party of the future) Giya Maisashvili, former head of Georgian State Security Service Irakliy Batiashvili, representative of the party «Democratic movement — Georgia United» Shalva Ogbaidze are reported to be injured as well. Some oppostion activists reported to be detained.
«I know about 60 persons are injured… Today Saakashvili will see the anger of people. Georgians saw what’s going on in Tbilisi, called us from everywhere. Peoples from all corners of Tbilisi are moving to the place of incident» — said Georgiy Haindrava, one of the leaders of Georgian opposition.
The deputy minister of Georgian Home office Katerina Zguladze said oppostion activists broke the law. «The police keeps calm and protects only territory surrounding the police office. We didn’t attack action», said Zguladze on air of Georgian TV «Rustavi-2». She proved wrong the information on detentions and shots in the town.
Georgian bloggers on field report that opposition provoked the fight and their goal was «bloody picture for TV». Blogger Syhymu reports: it all started when the oppposition leader brother Georgiy Gachechiladze lead people to the police department, where are detained activists of youth opposition organisations, arrested for the offence against journalists. He excited the crowd, urged to release "poor kids, who are promised to be sexually abused while jailed" Then he jumped over the fence and attacked the guardian-policemen. Other oppostion activists followed him. Policemen came to the «frontline». That how this «through fence fight» started. Both sides used long sticks, opposition — flagstaffs, police — rubber batons and then flagstaffs withdrawn from opposition side. Then (so far it’s unclear from what side) stones were thrown and oppositions leaders turned out to be in blood. Levan Gachechiladze head’s broken, Maisashvili and Ogbaidze heads are broken as well. I saw with my own eyes, one policemen threw out flagstaff and it hit face of some opposition activist with flag in his hands», Syhymu said.
By bloggerg currenlty (22 GMT) the situation in Georgia is stable. All injured are in hospital, nobody arrested, opposition stays nor far from the police office, but there are not any clashes anymore.
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