State Inspector Probes Alleged Police Violence Against Shame Movement Protesters
State Inspector Service of Georgia began probing possible abuse of power by the police officers against the Shame Movement activists and protesters during the anti-lockdown rally on the night of April 3-4 in coastal city of Batumi.
Media footage from the incident showed skirmish between the law enforcers and activists, after police entered the movement’s regional office during the nighttime curfew. Groups of officers are seen in the video dragging away two youngsters. The Interior Ministry said authorities detained three persons, on charges of police disobedience and petty hooliganism, under the Code of Administrative Offenses.
The State Inspector is leading investigation under Article 333 (3b) of the Criminal Code of Georgia, involving abuse of power by violence or a weapon, which envisages a prison term of five to eight years, and deprivation of the right to hold an office for up to three years.
The Shame Movement, which spearheaded the Saturday protests in both Tbilisi and Batumi, stated “we will not allow the police to storm our newly opened office, arrest activists with excessive force without even explaining what’s their reasoning-again.”
In the meantime, on April 4, a group of anti-opposition activists marched through Batumi streets holding broomsticks with the attached photos of Shame movement leaders Giga Makarashvili and Shota Dighmelashvili, and former president Mikheil Saakashvili, the United National Movement leader-in-exile. The titles under the images said “FSB [Russian Federal Security Service] Agent.” The group later arrived at the Shame Movement’s Batumi office, empty at the time, and stuck the said posters outside its walls.
The Shame Movement accused the ruling Georgian Dream party of equating them with the UNM. The UNM’s Giorgi Kirtadze said on its part that the group of anti-opposition protesters consisted of employees from public organizations.
Noteworthy, the ruling Georgian Dream party chairperson Irakli Kobakhidze remarked earlier on April 1, that there was “reasonable suspicion” that the Shame Movement activists were “Russia’s agents.” The Shame Movement said with these claims MP Kobakhidze tried to discredit their movement.
The Shame Movement, which emerged after June 2019 anti-Russian occupation rallies, announced a disobedience march slated for later today in Batumi.
This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)