STATEMENT OF THE MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS
Published in JusticeFriday, 10 March 2023 15:44
Briefing of the Director of the Central Criminal Police Department – Teimuraz Kupatadze
As is known to the public, on March 7 and 8, protest rally was held near the Legislative Body of Georgia and on Rustaveli Avenue, which went beyond the norms established by the law on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and turned into violent actions.
First of all, I would like to emphasize that it is categorically not allowed to verbally assault, attack or carry out violent actions against police officers.
Within these two days, as a result of the violent actions of the rally participants, 58 employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were injured, among them 5 are still in various medical facilities.
Everyone witnessed clearly how they threw burning objects, pyrotechnics or the so-called “Molotov cocktails” to my colleagues, as a result of which several of them received severe burns.
Herewith, it was clearly visible in media live coverages how rally participants threw various blunt objects, stones, wooden or iron objects at the police, as a result of which many policemen received severe injuries.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs studies each case of violence against police officers, and the identified criminals will be brought to justice with the full severity of the law.
We would like to provide the public with summarized information on the recent events in the area surrounding the Parliament and on Rustaveli Avenue.
On March 7 of the current year, after announcing that manifestation was planned to take place, the representatives of the relevant units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in order to protect public order, were stationed near the legislative body and ensured the peaceful conduct of manifestation.
However, at the end of the day, the participants of the rally tried to block the entrances to the Parliament.
In order to restore public order, based on the necessity, police consistently applied proportional force and special means of coercion provided by the Law of Georgia "On Police" after the warning announcements.
Despite numerous calls from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to continue manifestation within the framework of the law, protesters continued their violent actions on Chichinadze and Chitadze streets.
In order to ease the tension and de-escalate the situation, the police forces opened the road for the rally participants, cleared the streets surrounding the Parliament and called on them to continue manifestation peacefully.
Nevertheless, the rally participants threw various objects - stones, so-called “Molotov Cocktails”, inflammables, blunt objects - at the direction of the police officers, and physically attacked and resisted them. They also damaged vehicles on purpose belonging to the Ministry and special police gear.
Later on, the crowd began an organized attack on the parliament building, throwing so-called Molotov cocktails and pyrotechnics.
We all saw that the protesters set fire to the building of the legislative body, threw stones, broke the windows and damaged the protective barriers.
Deliberate, mass violation of public order continued for several hours. In order to restore the public order, the police applied the proportional force and special means several times.
During the manifestation, the law enforcement officers arrested 66 people in accordance with Articles 166 and 173 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, on the facts of petty hooliganism and disobedience to the legal demands of the police.
The rally continued on the second day near the legislative body.
In order to de-escalate the situation, employees of various police units were stationed in the inner territory of the Parliament.
Throughout the day, the police protected the public order in the area surrounding the legislative body.
Within the framework of the mandate defined by the Law of Georgia "On the Police", with the purpose to ensure safety, the police carried out superficial inspection of citizens near the place where manifestation was held, as a result of which 10 people were arrested. They brought illegal items at the rally, intended for violent actions, including stun gun, batons, stones, and various types of pyrotechnics.
The participants of the rally gathered in front of the Parliament had the opportunity to hold a protest in a peaceful and safe environment.
Nevertheless, calls for violent actions were periodically heard from individuals.
After one of the speakers called on the gathered people to picket the legislative body, the protesters began to block the entrances leading to the parliament and picket the building.
The gathered people damaged the protective barriers located near the parliament building, entrance doors, smashed the building's windows, damaged the iron grilles, threw stones, various objects and pyrotechnics at the parliament building and yard.
Therefore, the police forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in order to maintain public order, prevent violent and aggressive actions from the side of law-breakers, applied appropriate coercive measures and special means provided by the Law of Georgia "On Police".
Despite numerous attempts by the police to defuse the tense situation, the people gathered on Rustaveli Avenue started attacks in the direction of the police officers, throwing Molotov cocktails, stones, wooden poles and other objects.
The rally participants damaged, overturned and set fire to vehicles belonging to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. They damaged the bus of the Special Tasks Department with stones, painted and damaged the fire truck as well. Material property belonging to Tbilisi City Hall was damaged as well.
Throughout the night, the participants of manifestation violated the public order and the rule of law, resisted police officers, damaged the infrastructure and set fire to various things on the central avenue and its surrounding locations.
On March 7-8 of the current year, due to the facts of law violations that occurred during the protest rally in the vicinity of the Parliament, the law enforcement officers arrested one individual under Article 353(1) while 133 people were taken under arrest in total in accordance with Articles 166 and 173 envisioned by the Code of Administrative Offences.
Some of the detainees were brought before the court yesterday. The rest of the arrestees were released, as the term of stay in the temporary detention center was expired and will appear at the court later.
the Ministry of Internal Affairs continues investigation in order to determine, identify and arrest all those who attacked policemen and other violent actions during the protest.
Violent incidents are being investigated under Articles 353 (1) and 187 of the Criminal Code of Georgia.