February 08, 2013 23:15
Georgian interior minister accuses Tbilisi mayor of provoking crowd
TBILISI. Feb 8 (Interfax) - Georgian Interior Minister Irakly Garibashvili has accused Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava and people accompanying him on the way to the National Library building to listen to President Mikheil Saakashvili's address of provoking the participants in a protest demonstration into acting violently.
"The Tbilisi mayor and people accompanying him acted as a group of professional instigators. Their actions caused aggression in the participants in the demonstration, which resulted in injuring people, including politicians," Garibashvili said.
After President Saakashvili decided to speak at the National Library, police were mobilized and were prepared to ensure security, he said.
The Interior Ministry was also aware that a group of former political prisoners who were prosecuted after the dispersal of protest rallies on November 7, 2007 and May 26, 2011 planned to hold a protest demonstration near the National Library on Friday, he said.
This is why the police formed a special corridor through which the president and members of the United National Movement party could safely enter the building, Garibashvili said. However, they refused to use this corridor and decided to walk right through the crowd, he said.
"It is seen in videos, which we will certainly make public, that Samegrelo region Governor Tengiz Gunava arrived and, despite recommendations by police that he should enter the building, preferred to stay outdoors. After that, the mayor and people accompanying him appeared at the scene, and they behaved like professional instigators," Garibashvili said.
An investigation has been opened into the clashes in front of the National Library building, Garibashvili said, promising that not only those involved in the fighting but also those who provoked the demonstrators to resort to violence will be punished.
"Any violence is unacceptable to us, whoever it comes from," he said.
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