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Interior Ministry: 305 Protesters Detained

The Georgian Interior Ministry said today that a total of 305 protesters have been detained for various criminal offenses during the June 20-21 developments outside the Parliament building in Tbilisi.

In a statement of June 21, the Ministry noted that investigation has been launched under article 225 of the criminal code of Georgia, involving organization, management or participation in group violence.

According to the Ministry, while the rally started in a peaceful manner, later the protesters tried “to storm the Parliament building” through violence and group attacks on police officers.

“Despite multiple calls from the Ministry, the protesters continued attempts to storm the Parliament building, using various things, including sticks, iron constructions, stones, physically assaulting police officers and disobeying their legal demands,” the Interior Ministry said.

It explained that police had to use special means envisaged by law against the protesters, including tear gas, non-lethal weapons and water cannon. “These means were used consistently, proportionally to existing threats,” the Ministry noted.

Commenting on the recent developments outside the Parliament, Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia said that “politicians and political parties managed to turn our citizens’ fair and sincere protest into violence against police, institutions.”

“All those persons, who called for and managed to turn a peaceful rally into a violent rally and a storm against the Parliament… will be punished with the full severity of the law,” he said, adding that the facts of alleged abuse of power by police officers will be thoroughly investigated.

A group of opposition and civic activists gathered outside the Parliament of Georgia in the evening on June 20, condemning the Russian delegation’s presence at yesterday’s session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy in the parliament’s plenary chamber.

The protesters raised the responsibility of the ruling party over the developments, and demanded resignation of Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze, Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia and Head of the State Security Service Vakhtang Gomelauri.

Tensions mounted around 10pm Tbilisi time, as the ruling party did not respond to demands. Part of the protesters broke through the first cordon of the police, but were pushed back by the riot police.

Georgian Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze resigned today following the yesterday’s developments outside the Parliament.

This post is also available in: Georgian Russian

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