Monday, June 15, 2009

Arrests and extreme forms of protest in Georgia: situation beginning to get out of hand

Аресты и крайние формы протеста в Грузии: ситуация начинает выходить из-под контроля

Opposition protesters are demonstrating before the building of the Georgian Parliament. The decision to move the protests to Rustaveli Avenue was made by leaders of the opposition after their supporters were forced to flee from the main office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Tbilisi.

Of those protesters, as deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, Eka Zguladze, stated, 39 were arrested by the police. Zguladze remarked that the police did not intend on resorting to force, but that police recognized many faces of those that had participated in the attack on deputies near the Parliament building on June 12. Attempts to arrest them, however, were met by resistance.

Meanwhile, several memberes of the opposition movement have begun extreme forms of protest. According to an IA Regnum correspondent, one of the protesters demonstrating before Parliament is Abkhazian refugee Ramaz Aroniya, who has sewn his mouth and eyes shut. He is trying to draw attention to the authorities' unwillingness to see what they have done to Georgia, and to condemn law enforcement for suppression of freedom of speech. One Opposition supporter has promised to sew his ears shut, should his protests go unheard by Mikheil Saakashvili.