On April 1, another protest rally “For Lazare’s Freedom” in support of 21-year-old Lazare Grigoriadis, who was arrested following the March 7-9 protests against the so-called Foreign Agents’ law, took place in front of the Government Administration. Gigoriadis was arrested on March 29 and on March 31, the Tbilisi City Court ordered him to be remanded in custody as a preventive measure. According to the investigation, during the protests Grigoriadis allegedly threw stones and the so-called “Molotov cocktails” at policemen, as a result of which law enforcement officers were injured, and he also allegedly set fire to a car belonging to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He faces up to 7-11 years in prison.
The move is widely seen as yet another act of intimidation of the youth segment of the protesters, along with other acts carried out by the authorities in recent weeks, such as demonizing the youth who took part in the rallies, calling them extremists, radicals and Satanists, and carrying out police checks in the student dormitory of Tbilisi State University, as well as reportedly summoning youth for police interrogations, etc.
30/03/2023 – One Detained for “Assaulting Police Officer and Damaging Property” during March 7-9 Rallies
Today, opposition politicians, civil activists and ordinary citizens gathered at the Government Administration at 8 pm to demand the release of Lazare Grigoriaridi and, more generally, to call for an end to the “political persecution” of those who took part in the protest rallies against the “agent” laws. “I shot too”, “Detain us too” – with these banners they expressed their solidarity with the prisoner. To illustrate the double standards applied by the authorities to Grigoriadis, the footage of violence committed with impunity by various radical groups in the past was screened at the rally.
Also present at the rally was MEP Viola von Kramon, who told journalists that she had come to the rally to express solidarity with the Georgian people, who strongly support pro-Western and pro-European path. She reacted to ‘Georgian Dream’ leader Irakli Kobakhidze’s comment about Grigoriadis, who said that the young man had “all kinds of orientations mixed up”. She said it is unacceptable for parliamentarians to speculate on a person’s image.
It has become known later in the evening that citizens collected up to GEL 20,000 for Grigoriadis’ family to cover his lawyer’s and other expenses. A rally in support of Lazare Grigoriadis was also held yesterday, 31 March, in front of the Parliament building.
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