POLITICS
Interior Minister explained reasons behind police raid at Tbilisi night clubs in Parliament
19 May, 2018
Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia addressed MPs at the plenary session of the Parliament held on May 18. On the basis of the request of the Minister of Internal Affairs, the hearing was held on three issues: the results of the efforts carried out in 2018, the ongoing and planned reforms and the 12 May developments, in particular police raid at Georgia’s most popular night clubs Bassiani and Café Gallery. As a reminder, Minister of Internal Affairs
Giorgi Gakharia stated in front of the parliament the decision to enter night clubs was made after increased cases of intoxication by drugs and confirmation of cases of illegal drug trade in the clubs.

Interior Minister apologized for causing discomfort for the people who were at the night clubs on May 12 when the special operations were carried out . However, according to him, it was done for public interest and there was no other solution:
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Interior Minister at the plenary session of the Parliament held on May 18

“We created discomfort for 70-100 people who were getting ready for entertaining in the club, sorry, but it was needed for public interest, - Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Gakharia stated at the plenary session in the Parliament.

The Minister emphasized that operation carried out by the Ministry of Internal Affairs was very important and serves as a precondition for tracking the source of drug flow in the country.
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The Minister emphasized that operation carried out by the Ministry of Internal Affairs was very important

Moreover, according to him, no one got hurt during the special operations.

He also spoke about the time frame of the special operation and said that it would be surprising to enter the club on Monday morning.

"It would be at least surprising to enter the club on Monday morning. That's why we chose Friday night and it had specific reasons: club life starts at about 12. We apologized to these people when we entered the club. You cannot show me any person who was even slightly hurt in the club. You cannot show me any person who appealed to the medical establishment after this operation”, said the Minister.
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According to him, entry into the clubs was conditioned by two factors

According to him, entry into the clubs was conditioned by two factors: clear evidence and operational information.

As Interior Minister stated, Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) will initiate legislative proposal on the activities of the clubs.

Giorgi Gakharia said that the Ministry is discussing best European practice in this regard.
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Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) will initiate legislative proposal on the activities of the clubs

"We generally believe that we need legislative amendments. In many European countries, permits required when opening a nightclub. We are not sure that these are the measures we need, but some kind of activities will probably be taken. We are studying the best practices of Europe and we will initiate certain proposals, "Giorgi Gakharia said.

The Minister thanked all the police officers who participated in special operations conducted in Bassiani and Café Gallery night clubs.

I would like to thank every police officer who participated in the 12 May operation, as no one has provided any example of the use of excessive power yet, - Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia said at the plenary session in the Parliament.

According to him, if any such case is identified, the Ministry of Internal Affairs will respond relevantly.
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Giorgi Gakharia talked about the process that preceded the May 12 special operation

Besides, Giorgi Gakharia talked about the process that preceded the May 12 special operation. According to the Minister, there had been three-month investigative actions, resulting in factual evidence proving that drug trade was systematic in the clubs.

The Minister also commented on the rally on May 12- 13 in front of the Parliament. As he said, majority of the young people gathered at the main avenue of the city did not have any connection to consuming or spreading drugs, but focused on their freedom of expression. According to Gakharia, the peaceful demonstration was ore about protecting the values of freedom and liberty.
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Peaceful protest in front of the Parliament. May 12

The minister one again stated that he met with the representatives of White Noise Movement who demand modification of drug policy and currently they are working on this issue. “Now we are in the process of discussion and we will settle on and get the result that will be satisfactory for everyone.”

As Giorgi Gakharia stated, so-called tourist police officers will start patrolling in Tbilisi. According to him, the increase in the number of tourists is a challenge for the law enforcement system.
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Bassiani, one of the most popular night clubs in Georgia

"The number of tourists in Georgia is growing daily. On the one hand, it is a great benefit for the economy, but it is a big challenge for the law enforcement system, because the huge traffic of tourists is related to certain risks.
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Interior of Cafe Gallery night club

As of today, we have specific locations and routes in Tbilisi. 20 crews of patrol police subdivision will start patrolling in tourist zones from Monday and 20 crews will be added every month. This is something like tourist police, which will keep order in the city and serve tourists”, said the Minister.

As a reminder, at this stage both Bassiani and Cafe Gallery night clubs are closed (sealed) and the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia are present at the venues. The specific date when the clubs will resume functioning is still unknown.

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