Giorgi Gakharia: May 26 was Punitive Act, June 20 - Self-defense

Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, Giorgi Gakharia answered the questions existing among the members of society yesterday, in TV Pirveli program “Reaction”.

Prior to that, the Minister was met with the participants of the rally arranged in front of the TV Pirveli building. The demonstrators demanded the resignation of Gakharia, as they believe that he is responsible for the raid of the anti-occupation rally in front of the Parliament building on June 20.

During the broadcast, the Minister compared the two notorious and tragic dates in modern Georgian history – developments of May 26, 2011, and June 20, 2019. According to him, there is a fundamental difference between the raids of two different rallies. As he stated during the broadcast, the raid of May 26, 2011 rally was a punitive act against peaceful demonstrators and the roads for evacuation were closed by police, while the police actions on the night of June 20 was self-defense in order to repel the storm against law enforcers and the Parliament building.

“The use of force was legitimate and proportional, however, there were specific cases of the use of excessive force”, said Gakharia.

According to him, the police warned demonstrators four times before starting the raid, including using a special voice warning.

In the same interview, Gakharia supposed that police was even late to use special measures against protestors on June 20-21.

“We should not have allowed them to kidnap more than 30 law enforcers”, he added.

According to him, riot police were forced to take legitimate measures to prevent the crowd from storming Parliament. 

The riot police used rubber bullets and tear gas against the participants of the demonstration on June 20 night, after the part of the protestors tried to forcefully enter the Parliament building. Two nonviolent young demonstrators lost an eye during the protests due to rubber bullets, while a total of 240 people, including 80 police officers, were hospitalized. 

The 2011 Georgian protests were a series of anti-government protests in Georgia against President Mikheil Saakashvili.

The protests began on 21 May 2011 when over 10,000 Georgians attended a demonstration in Tbilisi demanding Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's resignation.

By Ana Dumbadze 

12 July 2019 12:34