The Ministry of Internal Affairs reports they have launched an investigation under articles 353 and 187 of the Criminal Code of Georgia in connection with violent incidents that took place in Tbilisi, Rustaveli Avenue, near the Parliament building.
As noted in the statement, the law enforcement officers arrested 66 people in accordance with Articles 166 and 173 under the Code of Administrative Offenses, on facts of minor hooliganism and disobedience to the legal request of the law enforcement officers.
“The facts of the offense committed by the mentioned individuals shall be submitted to the court within the time frame established by the law. From the side of the Ministry, the appropriate legal assessment will be given to the actions of all individuals who facilitated and organized the development of a peaceful protest into violent action.
“Yesterday, throughout the day, the relevant units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were mobilized near the parliament building in order to ensure the public order and peaceful conduct of the manifestation.
“Later, the protest of the gathered went beyond the limits established by law on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and took a violent turn.
“Participants of the rally attempted to block the entrances of Parliament, and were prevented from doing so by police. Despite numerous calls from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to express their protest in a peaceful manner within the framework of the law, rally participants continued their violent actions and ignored the legal requirements of the law enforcement officers.
“The police, in order to ease the tension and de-escalate the situation, opened the road and called on protesters to disperse. However, the rally participants threw various objects – stones, flammables, blunt objects – in the direction of the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, physically assaulted and resisted the policemen. Participants of the rally damaged and set fire to vehicles belonging to the Ministry as well as special police equipment.
“In order to restore public order and stop the violations of the law, the police were forced to gradually apply proportional force and special means of coercion provided by the Law of Georgia “On Police” based on necessity and after the appropriate warning.
“Later, the gathered people started an organized attack on the parliament building, throwing Molotov cocktails and fireworks, including in the direction of law enforcement officers.
“Members of the manifestation set fire to the building of the legislative body, threw stones, smashed windows and damaged the protective metal barriers.
“There was a mass violation of law and order from the side of rally participants, which persisted continuously for several hours.
“As a result of the violent actions of the assembled citizens, up to 50 employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were injured, several of them required surgical intervention and are still in medical institutions. During the manifestation, citizens were also injured.
“The Ministry will study all facts of violation that took place during the manifestation and will give an appropriate legal assessment to each one,” reads the statement.