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Young people in Kaspi protest oppression from police

24.05.2018

 
Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

On May 23, part of young people held demonstration in Kaspi and requested resignation of the head of the police unit. They said law enforcement officers often insult them and prohibit movement in the streets during night hours. 

“Late in the evenings, at about 22:00 pm, when a young man is going out in the street to walk with friends, police officers stop and insult them. I have also experienced similar attitude and if we response their behavior, police arrests us under administrative charge as if we have insulted them, did not obey their lawful requests and breached public order,” Otar Gabrieladze from Kaspi said. He mentioned the incident of May 22 in the restaurant Bricks, when physical conflict happened between the police and young people.

“Yesterday, we were celebrating a birthday party of our friend when two police officers entered the room and one of them verbally insulted our friend, and situation finally turned into physical controversy; police officers even opened fire outside the restaurant. The head of the Kaspi police arrived in the restaurant, he was holding a club and beat our friend and he has bruises now,” the protesters said about the incident of May 22 and request resignation of the head of the police unit; they also protested attitude of majority of Kaspi police officers towards them.

MIA press-center clarified that criminal case under Article 239 of the GCC was launched into the restaurant incident, which refers to hooliganism. The investigation is underway and several persons were invited to interrogation.

According to the MIA, during the incident in the restaurant, two police officers also received physical injuries. 

Humanrights.ge inquired if police officers also received injuries, why they started investigation only into hooliganism and the representatives of the MIA press-center responded they do not exclude possibility that the qualification of the case will be changed in the process of investigation. 

As for the accusations of the young people against the head of the Kaspi police office and police officers about alleged abuse of power, the press-center of the MIA does not have information and states that nobody has reported to the General Inspection about similar facts from Kaspi.

Human rights defenders will appeal the General Inspection and request adequate measures to be taken against the head and officers of the local police office.

“The General Inspection of the MIA and prosecutor’s office shall necessarily study the case. It is not necessary that somebody lodged a complaint to them when young people openly protest the activities of police officers and blame them in harassment. Some of them confirm that their friends were beaten by clubs and that police officers opened fire. The officers will have to explain why they needed to open fire and use clubs against young people. If the signs of criminal offence are confirmed in their actions, they must be not only dismissed from working places but also held responsible for the incident,” HRC Shida Kartli office lawyer Aleksi Merebashvili said. 

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