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What Happened in front of the Tbilisi Police Main Department in Tbilisi

09.05.2009
Kartlos Sharashidze

Opposition leaders Levan Gachechiladze, Gia Maisashvili, Davit Gamkrelidze, Zviad Dzidziguri, Gia Gachechiladze (Utsnobi) and others were seriously injured during the clash with police. At the end of the demonstration the special unit and police deployed in the Dighomi central high-way arrested and beat most part of the demonstrators.

On May 6, Gia Gachechiladze initiated to move to the Tbilisi Police Main Department from the Rustaveli Avenue. The demonstrators started from the parliament building and then held rally in front of the Police Department in Dighomi. Opposition leaders demanded the release of Melor Vachnadze, Giorgi Oniani and Revaz Revazishvili who were detained for beating the journalist of the Public Broadcasting Nika Avaliani. The demonstrators were informed that the detainees were brutally beaten by policemen. 

Special unit armed with truncheons and plastic bullets protected the building of the Police Department. The clash between the police and demonstrators started after Gia Gachechiladze and small part of the demonstrators climbed over the fence and entered the territory of the police department. At that moment Gia Gachechiladze was surrounded by policemen who severely beat him. At that moment the police started to shoot plastic bullets at the demonstrators. Consequently, opposition leaders and demonstrators who were taken to Ghudushauri hospital.

During the demonstration special unit shot plastic bullets and threw stones at demonstrators. Tens of people were injured among them were women, old people and under-age children; cameraman of the TV Company “Kavkasia” and journalists of  the Rustavi 2 and Public Broadcasting.

All night long opposition leaders demanded the information about the health conditions of the detainees. They also requested to allow Public Defender Sozar Subari to meet the authorized person from the police department. The attempt of the ombudsman to enter the police department failed. He assessed the situation extremely critically on the place. Journalist Lali Moroshkina in the name of the Coalition of the Non-Governmental Organization demanded to meet officials for dialogue.

Initially the women tried to calm the tense situation between the demonstrators and special unit and then clergymen. The situation used to get tense time by time. Special Unit members standing behind the fence aggressively responded to the slogans and loud statements of the people gathered in front of the police department.

Later, opposition leaders decided to return to Rustaveli Avenue and continue the rally there. The leaders and journalists left the territory though small part of people remained in front of the police department.

Afterwards, the information about detaining Shalva Alibegashvili, pupil of the tenth form of the Tbilisi Public School, who was going home together with his friends. Demonstrators were in Dighomi central highway when riot police appeared and started detaining and beating people. The number of the victimized and detained people is not known, because the number of policemen and special unit members was larger than citizens. Detainees were taken to unidentified direction; some of them were taken to the police station and were beaten with truncheons.

The masked special unit members were particularly aggressive; they insulted the clergymen too stating their place was in the church and not at the demonstration. They also threatened the local residents with entering their houses unless they stopped looking from the balconies. The local residents were condemning their behavior.

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