Detentions After Pro-Ukraine, Anti-Gov’t Rally

Police detained at least 12 protesters following a Tbilisi demonstration on March 7 against Government officials’ controversial response to Russia’s war against Ukraine, according to media reports.

Among the detainees were Shame Movement leaders Giorgi Mzhavanadze, Giga Makarashvili, Nodar Rukhadze and Zuka Berdzenishvili, government-critical Mtavari Arkhi TV host Bachi Valishvili and civic activist Nata Peradze.

Peradze said early on March 8 that she and two other female detainees were released and the male protesters were remanded in custody.

Mtavari Arkhi TV reported later in the day that the nine activists remain in detention in total.

Protesters yesterday first gathered outside the Parliament building in downtown Tbilisi and later moved in front of the Government Chancellery nearby. Some activists threw toilet papers over the police fences erected in front of the building.

The Shame Movement reported that detentions ensued only after the rally had concluded, with four of its activists apprehended.

The protesters in response threw flour at the police officers, which further led to additional detentions, according to the group.

The Interior Ministry has not issued public comments to specify the exact number of those apprehended and the reasons for the detentions.

Yesterday’s rally came amid a series of continuous demonstrations throughout Georgia in support of Ukraine, since Russia’s launch of its armed attack on February 24.

Protesters on March 7 demanded the Government shut Georgia’s airspace to Russia, bar Russian-owned media from broadcasting and impose a visa regime for Russian nationals.

Discontent deepened among the Georgian public following various controversial developments, including Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili’s clear-cut rejection of sanctions, skepticism toward the effectiveness of the measure, the authorities’ refusal of a chartered flight to transport volunteers to Kyiv, reports on influx of Russian nationals and Russia’s permit for Georgian dairy import.

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