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Georgian bullets are most humane2009-06-03 18:02
Under the pressure of facts Georgia's law-enforcement authorities have to acknowledge that on May 6 batons as well as bullets were used near the police department building. Earlier the Interior Ministry categorically denied it. Now it states the bullets were the most humane in the world.
Tbilisian police shot back with "humane" bullets trying to stop the crowd rushing to the Patrol Police HQ in Tbilisi. The Interior Ministry showed the nonlethal arms it made use of to Liberal, a glossy magazine recently established by Open Society-Georgia Foundation of Soros.
As a result of the incident near the police department over 60 persons were taken to hospital. The Georgian channels showed politicians including Levan Gachechiladze, Giya Maisashvili, Zviad Dzidziguri, Shalva Obgaidze with their heads bleeding. Several opposition activists, an operator, a woman journalist of the Public TV, and Nino Burdzhanadze's two security guards were injured. The opposition said they had been shot with rubber bullets that were very traumatic for the people. Two protesters were wounded in the eyes and lost sight, Civil.ge reports.
Georgian Interior Ministry immediately contradicted the use of "rubber bullets". However Movement for United Georgia threatened to file a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights against the representatives of the authority and state officials. The party led by ex Defense Minister Irakli Okruasvili called on the law-enforcement authorities to investigate the May 6 incident independently and bring real lawbreakers to responsibility. The fact is that the list of special means the riot police are allowed to use stipulated in the Georgian law "On Police" includes tear gas, water jets and rubber batons. Rubber bullets are not mentioned there.
Levan Chkheidze, a lawyer with Movement for United Georgia promised that all the victims would have free legal assistance.
Either the fear of international interference or clearness of the accusations made the Georgian Interior Ministry confess having applied nonlethal arms. "Our official position was not to speak about it to prevent aggravation of the situation", - was how Shota Utiashvili, head of Interior Ministry Analytical Department explained the behavior of power officers to Liberal magazine emphasizing that FN 303, not ALSL6-type launcher firing rubber bullets had been used on May 6 for impact projectiles.
Indeed the "cases" the oppositionists found and showed after the clash look like FN Herstal's recent invention the American police are using. They look like paintball bullets filled with glycol mixed with various chemical substances - pepper, lasting or washable dye. The core of such a bullet has a plastic "plumage" at the back. The polyetheron casing of a bullet cracks when the target is hit. Unlike electric shockers or rubber bullets they are not fatal. The shooting energy is below the dangerous point.
FN 303 gun maximum sharpness distance is 25 m. Probability to hit the target is high at 50 m too. According to FN 303 user manual an operator should avoid firing a target into the head. With reference to the Interior Ministry officials Liberal writes the policemen were not aware of that.
"It was dark and riot policemen could see only upper part of the bodies, - Deputy Interior Minister Shalva Janashvili said to the journalist.