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Police Disperse Rallies in Batumi

05.05.2004

Police Disperse Rallies in Batumi

At 10am on May 4, students and lecturers of Batumi University organized a protest demanding the resignation of Aslan Abashidze, leader of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara.

Abashidze’s security forces violently put down the protest. Special forces under the command of the Interior Ministry of Adjara dispersed the demonstration with clubs and water cannons. Police injured dozens of people, many of whom are receiving medical treatment in Batumi hospital. Among the injured demonstrators were many women and children. Some of the injured refused to be taken to the hospital, choosing instead to simply return home where they felt safer.

After breaking up the students’ and teachers’ demonstration, special forces attacked the offices of “Chveni Adjara” and “Kmara”, where they caused significant property damage.

At about 12:30am, demonstrators near the border of Choloqi heard gunshots. Representatives of the central Georgian government and Adjaran opposition supporters had gathered there in order to enter Adjara and support the protestors. 

Despite the attacks by police, many demonstrators did not give up, continued to protest all night. At about 3am, demonstrators in Batumi also heard gunshots.

In addition to attacking protestors, the Adjaran Government also set fire to several mini-buses coming to Batumi to join the protest rallies. The attacks wounded several passengers.


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