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Tbilisi: itching fists and sparkling knives2009-06-01 16:35
Georgian opposition is in a mess again. After a short pause the assault on protesters in front of the parliament building was repeated. "Unknown persons" were policemen. Some of them were taken to hospital with stab wounds.
There are two versions of last night's events in Rustaveli Avenue, the scene of the open-ended protest action that has been there for over a month and a half. Combining the evidence given by the policemen and oppositionists the story is this: an Interior Ministry officer was recording the rally at the parliament on the camera. The oppositionists didn't like it and took him to the porch of a nearby building. The policeman called his colleagues on the cell phone and they were quick to come and help him.
According to the video footage presented by privately owned Maestro TV around 20 Interior Ministry officers were wearing civilian clothes and carrying batons. According to the protesters they assaulted the so-called People's Patrol - a group of people guarding the cell-cage town. The fight began.
According to the Interior Ministry the demonstrators "offered physical resistance and wounded five policemen with knives," three more persons were beaten. According to Maestro at least ten protesters were hurt. The assaulters escaped when more oppositionists arrived. Today the criminal case on "Disorderly conduct" and "Bodily injury" was initiated after the confrontation between representatives of the law-enforcement authorities and demonstrators.
Wounded policemen were taken to hospital. Beka Bakuradze, a doctor of Mikhail hospital oral surgery department reported they had injuries in the maxillofacial area. By now six people have been already discharged from the hospital. According to Svoboda radio those who remain in hospital have "stab wounds" with one of them being in a critical state.
For the time of civil disobedience campaign demanding president Mikheil Saakashvili's resignation the oppositionists have had a few skirmishes with the unknown persons and the police. The last serious accident was the street leaders' attack on the Interior Ministry department. When the crowd attempted to release three detained activists the policemen made use of batons. Eventually 29 people were taken to hospital including United Opposition leader Levan Gachechiladze's brother Utsnobi, a journalist and six policemen.
The opposition took the occasion to try and wake up Georgian people tired of the protests announcing that "Saakashvili's criminal regime suppressing the democratic movement" would soon end. However there was no further escalation of the conflict with the authorities.