Riot Police Attempt to Disperse Demonstrators with Pepper Spray, Detentions

The riot police used pepper spray without warning and deliberately aimed at the demonstrators’ faces, similar to last year’s practice during March protests. The ambulances are rendering first aid to the injured who have trouble breathing and seeing.

In parallel with the arrests, dispersals and pepper spraying, the MIA issued a statement with a standard statement calling on demonstrators to refrain from violent actions and attacks on law enforcement. The number of people arrested and detained is currently unknown.

Meanwhile, water cannons have been also mobilized near the parliament building. All the streets leading to the parliament are filled with law enforcers from different units of the Ministry of Interior. Despite this, the demonstrators say they have no intention of leaving.

President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili reacted to the second day of protests against the “Foreign Agents” law: “Second night of massive protest in Tbilisi against the Russian Law. Insistance of the authorities to push through this law against the will of the population and despite partners protest is a direct provocation – a Russian strategy of destabilization,” she wrote on Twitter/X.

Update: Late at night on April 16 the Ministry of Interior issued a statement saying that “11 people were detained by law enforcement agencies on administrative charges for violating the law.” The statement also said: “During the rally in the area of Rustaveli Avenue and the Parliament building, despite numerous calls by the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the organizers and participants of the rally to express their protest in the forms prescribed by law and not to carry out violent actions, the members of the rally physically confronted the police and threw various blunt objects in their direction, including stones and bottles.” The Ministry said that one of its employees was injured and taken to a hospital and that “the Ministry’s vehicle was also damaged.” To prevent physical confrontation, the Ministry said, it used a special means – the so-called pepper spray.

This news was updated at:23:30 to reflect the statement my the Ministry of Interior.

To be updated…

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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