Protestors Clash with Police in Telavi During Presidential Inauguration

Members of the opposition party staged protests in Telavi during the inauguration of Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili on 16 December.

The clash occurred on the Telavi-Gurjaani highway after opposition protestors were prevented from entering Telavi. The opposition convoy had set off from Tbilisi earlier in the morning, holding signs such as ‘No to Salome’. However, only invited guests were allowed into Telavi.

The Strength in Unity coalition of presidential runner-up Grigol Vashadze which is dominated by the United National Movement (UNM) organized the convoy.

10 policemen were hospitalized following the rally on the Telavi-Gurjaani highway, around 30km from Telavi. Several opposition supporters were also injured. Moreover, police vehicles were damaged.

Leaders of the protest accused the government of restricting their constitutional right to freedom of movement, as well as not informing them of the road closures.

Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia thanked the police for showing restraint whilst dealing with the activists. He vowed to hold those responsible accountable “no matter who violated the law and abused the police.”

Salome Zurabishvili was inaugurated during a ceremony in Telavi in Eastern Georgia on 16 December. She called for national unity and an end to ‘political confrontations’ during her inauguration speech.


By Amy Jones

Photo source: Mari Nikuradze/OC Media

17 December 2018 18:18