Accessibility links

Breaking News

Protests Over Police Violence In Georgia Reach Two-Week Milestone

A protester outside the Georgian parliament on July 3.
A protester outside the Georgian parliament on July 3.

TBILISI – Demonstrators rallied in the center of the Georgian capital for a 14th straight night, demanding the resignation of the country’s interior minister.

The protesters again gathered outside the parliament building in Tbilisi late on July 3, calling for the resignation of Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia over police violence during an initial rally against Russian influence.

More than 240 people were injured when police fired rubber bullets and water cannons to turn back crowds trying to enter parliament on June 20.

The opposition accuses Gakharia of using excessive force to break up the demonstration.

As the protests neared the two-week mark, organizers said they were changing tactics to ensure that the wave of discontent does not fade away without results.

One of the protest leaders, Giga Makarishvili, told RFE/RL on July 3 that from now on rallies will be held using what he called "guerrilla tactics."

'Power In Truth': Young Georgians Take Leading Roles As Protests Continue
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:03:04 0:00

Makarishvili said that protesters will be following Gakharia everywhere he goes, demanding his resignation.

"Every evening during the protests we will be screening films about Russia's politics on a big mobile screen. Presentations of books will be organized along with meetings with authors who write about Russia's politicking in Georgia," Makarishvili said.

The protests were sparked by the visit of an official Russian delegation to parliament, including a Russian lawmaker who sat in the Georgian parliament speaker's seat while addressing a group of officials from predominantly Orthodox Christian countries.

A large majority of Georgians are openly hostile to Russia, 11 years after a five-day war that resulted in Russian forces occupying two breakaway regions.

Georgia fought a five-day war in 2008 against Russia that resulted in Russian forces leaving behind large contingents of troops in two Georgian breakaway regions.