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EU Envoy Comments on Police, Protesters Confrontation
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 9 May.'09 / 17:04

Peter Semneby, the EU’s special representative for South Caucasus, told journalists in Tbilisi on May 9, that it was “irresponsible to bring the rally” at the Tbilisi police headquarters on May 6, when dozens were injured as a result of confrontation between police and protesters there.

“I think this was playing with fire,” he said before meeting with a group of opposition leaders.

He, however, also said: “At the same time there are obviously other aspects of this incident also that need to be looked at and need to be investigated.”

“I just had a meeting with the Public Defender [Sozar Subari] to hear about the work that he has been doing in terms of investigating exactly what has happened there; these are all important aspects,” said Semneby, who met with the Public Defender earlier on May 9.

Sozar Subari, who was at the scene when the police and protesters confronted on May 6, criticized police for acting illegally citing that they were tossing stones and also shooting rubber bullets and other types of projectiles at protesters. The Public Defender has been criticizing the Interior Ministry for use of rubber bullets since November, 2007 when the riot police broke up anti-governmental rallies in Tbilisi. He says that use of rubber bullets or other types of less lethal projectiles by the police is illegal in Georgia. The Public Defender cites the Law on Police, which lists special equipment at the riot police’s disposal. The list includes tear gas, water cannons and rubber batons, but not rubber bullets.

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