09 May, 2013
‘We scolded the drivers and banged our hands on the bonnet’

People took dispersal of May 1, protest action differently. But basically they thought that confrontation of action-participants and the police was caused by the inertia of action of those who still were under the influence of the mentality of previous authorities, which assume that students hated the police in Saakashvili’s times and the law-enforcers were trained to disperse actions.
Giorgi Gabelaia, representative of students’ movement ‘Laboratory 1918’: - We
didn’t intend to have any tension or confrontation. What could we protest when the Work Code is only now being submitted to Parliament for consideration? We have nothing against them. We are leftists having experience of working with parties and on bills and it’s unimaginable to think that they are blocking our initiative. Our aim was to have such issues discussed in the streets, together with people. Our intention was to call on the people to be more active. If somebody considers making of inscriptions on the walls of banks and some company offices to be protest action – it’s only a juvenile boldness. But it’s also to be noted that these companies, banks and pharmaceutical firms really aggravate the people’s social life. Mustn’t we dare to say about it?
Q. – What should happen that’d make you change your mind to hold protest action on May 1 next year?
A. – A person shouldn’t work more than 8 hours, he’d have a good salary, good conditions; employer shouldn’t be able to dismiss an employee for unjustified reason.
Q. – According to the frames it’s difficult to find the culprits. Provocateurs are also seen there…
A. – According to back-stage information, during the action, in ‘Tbilisi Marriott’ hotel there was a meeting with NATO representatives and the Interior Minister who was among the participants didn’t want to have tense situation at the adjacent territory. I think somebody got it wrong what the minister wanted. Tactless questions of the men in the plain clothes were duly answered by our group and afterwards it turned into hand-to-hand confrontation.
Unfortunately in the police there still are people with old mentality and as I’ve already told you we don’t think that they were ordered to chase people to the entrances and beat them on the head.
Interior minister Irakli Garibashvili also expressed his position with regard to the occurred event. According to him, it’s a pity that students’ planned peaceful demonstration turned into a chaos action. ‘Georgian government welcomes students’ activity and their inclusion in the people’s life but everybody should remember that laws should be observed. The police acted as they had to and protected public order. Several action-participants were especially aggressive. We have shots showing that a driver’s car was quite unreasonably damaged and the action of several destructive persons was later spread on the whole mass. Everybody should bear in mind his responsibility to observe the law’, - declared Irakli Garibashvili.