Opposition politicians and activists rallied in capital city of Tbilisi and coastal Batumi on November 25, demanding the resignation of Adjara Government Head Tornike Rizhvadze.
The protests come as the opposition alleges Rizhvadze’s father tasked two Aslan Abashidze-era law enforcement officials to bribe and pressure United National Movement’s elected member of contested Batumi City Council Nugzar Putkaradze into leaving the party, shortly before his death. The UNM has also published a 46-minute-long recording purporting to confirm the accusation.
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Protesters gathered today outside the Adjara Government Building in Batumi, and the Georgian Dream party headquarters in Tbilisi. Besides the Government Head’s resignation, they are demanding the authorities probe the allegations of pressure and Putkaradze’s death and deliver justice to the alleged perpetrators.
Addressing the public in Batumi, United National Movement elected Batumi councilor Revaz Kharazi said “the system sacrificed Nugzar Putkaradze. You saw how these baboons killed the person.”
Kharazi pointed out that 24 hours had passed since the UNM published the recording that purportedly confirmed the coercion, but “an investigation has not yet been launched.”
While the cause of Putkaradze’s death was not officially disclosed, the opposition says the elected councilor, suffering from diabetes, died from high blood sugar due to nervousness over the alleged pressure.
Opposition Droa party, the organizer of the rally outside the Georgian Dream HQ in Tbilisi, plans to rally outside the Prosecutor’s Office building in Tbilisi later in the day.
Interior Ministry says police probing Putkaradze’s death
Interior Ministry confirmed to Civil.ge today that Adjara Police Department launched a probe on November 18 into the death of Putkaradze under Article 116 (1) of the Criminal Code, involving manslaughter through negligence, punishable with a prison term of two to four years.
The Ministry said police have also summoned UNM members Giorgi Kirtadze, Mirdat Kadamadze and Elguja Bagration over the dissemination of the audio recordings.
Civil.ge previously approached Interior Ministry on November 24, inquiring if the probe had been launched, but it declined had declined to comment.
This article was updated at 18:14 with a statement of the Interior Ministry
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