Citizens Rally Behind Zoo Director

Following the June 17 tiger attack close to Heroes’ Square, the director of Tbilisi Zoo, Zurab Gurielidze, was questioned by prosecutors before issuing a statement in front of the cameras. 

“I acknowledge that the state agencies spread the information I gave to them. After my notification, it was considered that there was no threat whatsoever [and that all animals were accounted for] and of course it’s all my fault,” said Gurielidze, reading a prepared statement in his hands.

Asked if he had been interrogated by police, Gurielidze said that he’d had “certain meetings with the police” but claimed that no criminal charges had been brought against him.

Hundreds of people rallied in support of Gurielidze and in protest against what many demonstrators believed was the authorities’ attempt to make the zoo director a scapegoat for their own failings, which led to the death of the man in the tiger attack.

After the meeting, PM Garibashvili denied that the authorities were planning to arrest the zoo director and also told Gurielidze that nothing was his fault. “I will be the first among the supporters of Zurab Gurielidze, the director of Tbilisi Zoo,” Garibashvili said. 

There is a chance that a number of animals are still alive and on the loose in the city so posing a threat to residents. 

18 June 2015 22:31