Portion of CCTV Footage of Protest Venue Incident Released
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 12 Apr.'09 / 13:25
Source: Ministry of Internal Affiars

The Interior Ministry released in early hours of April 12, a portion of CCTV footage depicting some scenes of incident that occurred at the protest venue outside the Parliament, which the opposition leaders described as “a raid” on the venue, resulting in damage of some equipment.

The Interior Ministry, however, said the incident occurred after employees of the Tbilisi municipality cleaning service were “physically attacked by civilians who were participating in the demonstrations.”

The footage, posted by the Interior Ministry on its website, is a shot from one CCTV camera with length of 9 minutes and 45 seconds.

The first five minutes of the released footage shows men in uniforms of the municipality’s cleaning service cleaning the area; at one instance men in cleaner’s uniforms are seen taking wooden planks and putting them into a garbage truck; planks are used by protesters for an improvised fence dividing an area where an improvised press room and other installations are located from rest of the protest venue. Another man dressed in civilian is also seen helping cleaners.

Then the footage shows about two dozen of men, dressed in civilian clothing, who were apparently quarrelling; some minor scuffle is also seen; some men are also seen standing nearby just watching without intervening. Couple of minutes later, the footage shows, several men brawling with each other, followed by some of them running away from the scene. Men, dressed in municipal cleaning service uniforms, are not seen in this footage to be involved in the incident.

The released footage from that one particular CCTV camera did not provide a full view of a tent, which is turned by rally organizers into an improvised press room in which, according to the opposition activists, some computers have been smashed by “attackers.” The venue is packed with several CCTV cameras providing view from various angles.

Some opposition activists claimed that some “attackers” were dressed in civilian clothing, with some of them holding wooden batons; while others said that some “attackers” were dressed in the municipal cleaning service uniforms.

Gigi Ugulava, an influential Mayor of Tbilisi, told Rustavi 2 TV on April 12, that employees from the cleaning crew were verbally insulted by the opposition activists, which triggered the incident. He said that some of the employees from the municipal cleaning service, who were technician staff, were present on the scene and dressed in civilian clothing.

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