About Civil.ge
Eng | Geo | Rus
Last updated: 11:15 - 25 Feb.'18
RSS
Mobile
Twitter
Facebook
Unrest in Batumi Ends with Detentions
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 12 Mar.'17 / 17:40


Police cars were overturned during the Batumi riot. 2017. Photo: Screenshot from Rustavi 2 TV

Incident over a parking violation ticket on March 11 in the Black Sea resort town of Batumi, in the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, turned violent as hundreds of Batumi residents protested what they regard as “harsh” police practice of the local law enforcement agency.

A spontaneous rally broke out mid-day on March 11 demanding the release of two persons who were detained in the earlier incident in Batumi, when locals confronted the patrol police officers over a fine for a car parking violation.

Several hundred protesters, including activists of the United National Movement, gathered in the center of Batumi and blocked the Chavchavadze avenue, the main transport junction in the city.

Police arrested few more protesters as they tried to open traffic at the Chavchavadze avenue and later, at the regional police headquarters, causing aggressive verbal reactions from the protesters.

Demonstrators moved to the the regional police headquarters on Tbel Abuseridze street at around 23:00 demanding the release of the six detained, as well as the resignation of Kakhaber Bukhradze, the region’s police chief, whom they accuse of excessive police rule. 

They also blamed the police chief of disrespect to the locals, saying that Bukhradze, who is not a Batumi native and who was recently appointed to the post, has allegedly referred to residents of Adjara, which has a significant proportion of Muslim population, as “Tatars,” a derogatory slur applied to Muslim Georgians. This allegation can not be independently confirmed, but was widely circulated on social media profiles of several leaders of the unrest, days ahead of the events.

Tensions ran high for most of the evening escalating mid-night when riot police moved out of the police station and drove the protesters away using tear gas and rubber bullets, prompting aggressive backlash from the protesters, who tried to storm the police headquarters throwing stones and torching police and civilian vehicles in the surrounding.

The unrest continued for six hours despite calls from Georgian officials for restraint and calm.

Zurab Pataradze, head of Adjara’s regional government, who was the first to address the participants (00:35) through his televised interview with the Georgian Public Broadcaster, urged the protesters for calm and pledged that the six detained persons would be released from custody, following his consultations with Interior Minister Giorgi Mghebrishvili.

Minister Giorgi Mghebrishvili told the press (01:50) that the six detained were released and that he would travel to Batumi to “explore the situation on the ground.”

President Margvelashvili issued a written statement late night (02:25) calling for respect of state institutions and dispatched the National Security Council secretary and the head of the presidential administration to Batumi.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili released a statement early morning (05:11) accusing “the destructive political forces” of provoking “vandal acts” and adding that the police officers were responding using “minimal” force, to avoid possible “complications.”

The unrest continued until early morning on March 12, when additional police officers intervened and dispersed the protesters, arresting approximately 40 of them. Local media sources reported that around 30 persons have been injured as a result of the clashes.

Latest News
24 Feb.'18 19:35
EUMM on Georgian Citizenís Death in Tskhinvali
The EU Monitoring Mission “stands ready to support the ongoing investigations” into the matter.
23 Feb.'18 21:06
Tbilisi Lays Responsibility on Russia over Georgian Citizenís Death
Tbilisi reacts with fury to Tatunashvili’s death at the hands of Russian-backed security force in Tskhinvali.
23 Feb.'18 17:09
Danish Foreign Minister Visits Georgia
Anders Samuelsen discussed foreign policy, financial aid program in meetings with Georgian officials.
23 Feb.'18 13:37
Georgian Dies in Tskhinvali Custody
Archil Tatunashvili had been detained in Akhalgori by Tskhinvali security force before dying in custody.
23 Feb.'18 10:42
U.S. Ambassador Bids Farewell to Georgia
Ian Kelly highlighted internal political challenges Georgia is facing in his farewell address.
22 Feb.'18 14:05
Georgia in TIís 2017 Corruption Perception Index
Georgia’s score in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index has slightly worsened.
22 Feb.'18 12:40
Parliament Overrides Presidential Veto on Broadcasting Law
The amendments have triggered strong criticism from CSOs, media outlets and parliamentary opposition.
22 Feb.'18 11:04
Georgia in Amnestyís Annual Human Rights Report
The Amnesty International highlights several concerns regarding the state of human rights in Georgia.
21 Feb.'18 18:14
Crimean Tatar Mejlis Chairman Visits Georgia
Refat Chubarov met Georgian parliamentary speaker and government minister during his stay in the country.
21 Feb.'18 16:38
President Campaigns to Engage Youth in Centennial Celebrations
Georgia will mark the centennial anniversary of restoration of its statehood on May 26, 2018.

About Civil Georgia
Civil.Ge © 2001-2018, Daily News Online
Registered office: 2 Dolidze Str, 4-th Floor.
50