SOCIETY
Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia apologized for the raid at clubs and promised to review drug policy
14 May, 2018
On the second day of the rally held in front of the Parliament building, Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Gakharia came to meet with the organizers of the protest rally. The minister apologized to the people gathered there who protested the raid that took place in the famous clubs of Bassiani and Café gallery on May 12, at night, and demanded apology from the minister and changes in present drug policy.

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Giorgi Gakharia addressed the rally on
Rustaveli Avenue:

"However, I apologize not only on my behalf, but if any of representative of the Interior Ministry threatened you or your security. At the same time, I'd like to ask you, who insulted people wearing uniforms and were protecting your security, to apologize to them," the Minister said.
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Giorgi Gakharia, Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia

Before delivering his speech Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia met with the organizers of the protest rally. The meeting is being held in the parliament's building. Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Gakharia promised the participants of the peaceful demonstration that the drug policy will be reviewed.
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Gakharia introduced promises to the protesters:

“We all agree that if the promises are not fulfilled, you can always dance or listen to the music in front of free Parliament, in free city”, Minister stated during his speech at the rally on Rustaveli Avenue.

“Our main goal is to complete this evening peacefully. You have been expressing your protest for two days already and no one interrupted you, or restricted your freedom of expression. Moreover, you know that each policeman cared about your security during this time. We need to move to a working regime together to find some solution through this difficult situation,” Giorgi Gakharia stated.

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Minister also promised the participants of the rally that he would meet them this morning to start the negotiations and review each detail of the especial operations conducted in Georgia’s popular night clubs, Bassiani and Café Gallery together.

"Each person, whose rights have been violated during the special operations, will find the justice. Their rights will be restituted. I also promise that we will achieve specific results in terms of drug policy. If these promises will not be implemented, you can always express your protest freely,” stated Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Gakharia.

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The peaceful rally organized by White Noise Movement at Rustvelia Avenue started on May 12, at 3 pm and was renewed on the next day May 13. The participants protested May 12 raid in Tbilisi night clubs and demanded review of the present drag policy that according to them is unfair and puts the lives of the people to threat. It was the fist case in the history of Georgia when the center of the city saw the electronic music rally. People gathered there danced to music and peacefully expressed their protest. 


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Large number of people opposing of the rally held in front of the Parliament Building also took to the main avenue to confront the people protesting the night raid. The members of so called Georgian March movement surrounded the protesters shouting and threatening them. Police officers were mobilized and created a barrier between two sides of the rally, to avoid clashes and protect participant of the protest rally organized bY White Noise Movement.
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The counter-rally participants

Up to ten participants of the counter-rally have been detained. The counter-rally participants were trying to break the police cordon to reach the place, where the rally organized by the White Noise Movement is underway, but police managed to stop them.
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The counter-rally participants

The White Noise Movement has given the Minister of Internal Affairs a one-week deadline to fulfill promises.

According to Beka Tsikarishvili, one of the organizers of the protest, they will observe the processes for one week and will hold a large-scale rally on next Saturday.
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Representatives of White Noise Movement

"You know that this fight has not started today and we are not going to finish it tomorrow if we do not get results. Therefore, our protest will be always legitimate. If the promise is not kept, we will continue to express protest. We are giving the Minister of Internal Affairs a one-week deadline to fulfill promises and we will organize a large-scale rally on Saturday”, said Beka Tsikarishvili.
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Peaceful protest rally

The rally ended peacefully. Under the order of the Minister of Internal Affairs the participants of the rally were evacuated by special buses, in order to prevent clashes. The protesters were able to leave the territory safely through the yard of the Parliament Building, that caused anger among the participants of the counter-rally who came to confront the protesters.
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People protesting raid ant night clubs gathered in front of the Parliament

As a reminder, Georgia’s most popular night clubs Bassiani and Café Gallery, the major venues of Tbilisi's night life, were raided by police at night, May 12.

Tbilisi protest rally in BBC spotlight



President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili expressed his gratitude to the police officers who performed their mission yesterday.

"I want to specifically thank the police officers who stood there and performed their mission - to prevent a confrontation between the two rallies. I thank them for their hard work," Margvelashvili said.



Related stories:


Night raid in Bassiani and Café Gallery – What happened at Georgia’s most popular clubs

Citizens protest special operations conducted in Bassiani and Café Gallery clubs(Video)

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