In wake of protests: Ten Georgian policemen suspended from service

Ten police officers who were involved in crackdown on the protests on June 20 have been suspended from service, reports with reference to Mamuka Chelidze, a representative of Georgia’s Interior Ministry.

“By the moment, among them there are two law enforcement officers whose actions had signs of a criminal offense. Accordingly, the materials will be handed to the Prosecutor General,” Chelidze said.

The Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office opened a criminal case over the alleged abuse of power by the police when dispersing the protest rally in Tbilisi. In turn, the Interior Ministry expressed the readiness to cooperate with the investigation and submit all their materials obtained in the course of their own probe to the Prosecutor General.

The protests broke out after Russian MP Sergei Gavrilov addressed the Inter-Parliamentary Orthodoxy Assembly which is being held in Tbilisi. The fact that he was sitting in the chair of the Georgian parliament speaker and speaking Russian caused public outcry in the country. In the context of the war that burst out in August 2008, many locals consider Russia an aggressor and invader and take a critical look at its efforts to have any influence in Georgia.

About 10,000 protesters came to the parliament building, demanding the resignation of its chairman Irakli Kobakhidze, Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia and head of the State Security Service Vakhtang Gomelauri. Some of them were carrying EU flags and posters ‘Russia Is Invader’.

According to Georgia’s Health Ministry, 240 persons got hurt. The police used riot control weapons, i.e. tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons. In turn, the participants of the rally were reported to be throwing bottles at the policemen and attacking them.

The Kremlin called Thursday’s protests in Tbilisi ‘nothing but a Russophobic provocation’.

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