Police arrested on January 24 Batumi-based pro-opposition activist Irakli Pangani, who threw garbage over the head of Irakli Chavleishvili, Adjara Supreme Council MP, who defied opposition boycott to enter the region’s legislature.
The trash-dumping incident took place at a January 23 rally at Batumi’s Europe Square where locals protested construction of the 16-story Ambassador hotel on within the city’s revered seaside boulevard.
Chavleishvili was elected on October 31 to the regional legislature through the proportional-party list of the United National Movement-led electoral bloc, which included his Republican Party. Amid the UNM’s and the Republicans’ boycotting to the regional and national legislatures, Chavleishvili left the Republican Party and took up his mandate, a move that angered opposition voters.
The Interior Ministry has launched investigation under Article 156 of the Criminal Code, involving persecution, envisaging punishment by a fine or house arrest for a term of one to two years, or by imprisonment for a term of up to three years, as well as under Article 239 involving hooliganism, punished by imprisonment for a term of four to seven years.
Levan Varshalomidze, opposition United National Movement leader and former Head of Adjara region, decried the activist’s arrest as persecution of political opponents by the ruling Georgian Dream party.