In protest against the COVID-19 restrictions, civic and opposition activists marched to defy the 21:00 – 05:00 curfew on the night of February 6-7 in Tbilisi and Batumi, leading to 11 arrests in the Black Sea coastal city.
Footage filmed by a protester in Batumi showed police forcefully detaining activists, as a confrontation between law enforcement officers and the demonstrators turned into a minor scuffle.
One of the activists, Keti Gogolauri, later told Georgian media she was detained during the protest, claiming that police verbally abused her and one of the officers put her in a chokehold. Gogolauri says police let her go after finding out she was a U.S. citizen.
The Interior Ministry told Civil.ge that police detained in Batumi 11 protesters for resisting police orders.
Meanwhile in Tbilisi, the protest went without incidents as demonstrators marched from outside the Parliament building on Rustaveli Avenue towards Dedaena Park near the Mtkvari river embankment, where they remained for the rest of the curfew.
The protest, named the “disobedience march,” came as Georgia saw growing discontent with the country’s COVID-19 lockdown measures over the past few weeks.
Authorities decided on February 5 to ease some of the prolonged restrictions, in effect since late November, in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, and Rustavi, while in Batumi and other smaller towns most of the restrictions were removed since February 1. Nighttime curfew, remains in force nationwide until further notice, however.