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The Adults Were Beaten at the Hippodrome by the Policemen

18.05.2009
Irakli Managadze

The International Music Festival – Tbilisi Open Air – Alter/Vision is finished. The government made PR for Alternative Eurovision, but it was passed with incidents. Before Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili came to the hippodrome, the policemen brutishly beat about 20 adults.

The reason which caused the incident is unknown. The fact is that about 20 adults have different types of injuries. The incident happened at 21:00 at the hippodrome. About 50 policemen participated in the incident. Some people saw this incident, including the lawyer of the Human Rights Center Soso Papuashvili:

- I was at the concert with some of my friends at 21:00 yesterday. I was standing in front of the stage. Some children were playing with the rugby ball about 100 meters away from us. Suddenly the policemen began beating these adults.

The policemen were wearing black trousers and light coloured shirts. They were dressed in the police uniforms. These children were being beaten so brutishly that it was terrible. Imagine 15-16 adults were beaten by about 30 policemen. Who saw this incident decided to help the adults, but the policemen began beating them. Half of the square was full of the policemen in 5 minutes.

- Did the policemen use the cudgels?

- They did not use the cudgels, but they brutishly beat the children. They abused and spat at the fallen children. This violence lasted for a long time. They were beating everyone who opposed them. When I came out of the hippodrome I saw those beaten children. I came up to them and asked what had happened. They told me that they were playing with the ball when the policemen attacked them. One had  a broken rib and the other – a head.

Nikoloz Lutidze, one of the witnesses:

- This incident happened about at 21:00-22:00. It was quite dark. Suddenly the quarrel started during the concert. At this time two children ran out of the crowd and I saw that about 15 policemen were running after them. One of the policemen seized and pushed the adults. After this about 15 policemen beat them with their legs. We were shocked. I could not manage to take a photo because it was dark. These policemen were furious. They were brutishly beating the children. They were abusing and insulting everyone who decided to help the children. I do not know what happened at first. I was standing apart, but I saw the running children and the policemen caught them. I saw how fat policemen were brutishly beating the children with their legs. This was terrible. There are a lot of witnesses who saw this incident.

The Human Rights Center applied to Shota Utiashvili, head of the Analytics Department of the Interior Ministry, about the mentioned fact. Utiashvili stated that nobody made a complaint about this fact. Utiashvili was interested in details and the Human Rights Center promised to help him to find out what had happened.

The festival – Tbilisi Open Air – Alter/Vision lasted for 2 days at the hippodrome. The motto of this festival was – Music breaks free! The representatives of 9 countries with Georgian groups performed for the Georgian audience. Basically they played jazz, rock, funk and blues.

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