Police detained 100 persons on administrative offenses and 2 on criminal charges during the violent far-right protest that gathered again in Tbilisi yesterday, this time to rally against the anti-violence, pro-LGBT+ “For Freedom” demonstration held in response to the homophobic pogroms of July 5.
During a tense standoff on Rustaveli Avenue, the Georgian capital’s main thoroughfare, the violent groups threw wooden sticks, pebble-filled plastic bottles, glass bottles and what appeared to be pyrotechnics at the “For Freedom” protesters, separated from them by police cordons. The homophobic the far-right demonstrators broke the police lines several times.
The Interior Ministry said on July 7 the counterprotest “exceeded the limits of the law on freedom and peaceful assembly,” and took on a violent form. Of the 100 detainees, law enforcement released 68 on parole, while 32 remain in temporary detention, according to the latest report.
Police also arrested one person on charges of interference with journalist’s professional activities and violence, for assaulting a Palitra News TV cameraman. Another person apprehended on criminal charges allegedly attacked and damaged a patrol police car window.
Following the hours-long tensions, after the “For Freedom” rally participants were largely gone, the police escorted the journalists, leaving the radical protesters to continue their rally in front of the Parliament. The hate groups took down and burned the EU flag.
Parliament Speaker Kakha Kuchava early today morning raised the banner back again, stating that “lowering the EU flag is inadmissible.” “Our strategic partners constantly stand guard to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he highlighted.
More arrests over violence spree against journalists
Police arrested four more persons over a violence spree that erupted at the July 5 counterprotest against the subsequently canceled Pride March, which led to attacks on more than 50 journalists.
Interior Ministry stated two persons were arrested for assaulting the journalist and the cameraman of TV Pirveli, and two more for verbally and physically abusing Mtavari Arkhi TV cameraman. Both incidents took place on Rustaveli Avenue.
The Interior Ministry said it is leading the investigation under Articles 154 (2), 156 (2a) and 225 (2), involving interference with the journalist’s professional activities using violence, persecution with violence or threat of violence, and participation in organized group violence.
Overall seven arrests have been made in the criminal probe, according to the latest report.
This article was updated.
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