Protesters attacking police officers crosses red line - PM

  • The Government head also claimed the demonstrators had planned to “sow constant chaos” with the “ultimate goal” to “destabilise our country [and] change the Government by violent means”, which he said would “not succeed”. Photo: Government Administration

Agenda.ge, 3 Apr 2023 - 16:25, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Monday said protesters attacking law enforcement at rallies was “unacceptable” and a “red line on which we will be uncompromising”, amid the case of a citizen charged with violence during last month’s demonstrations in Tbilisi.

Garibashvili was commenting on the case of Lazare Grigoriadis, who was charged with throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at police offers and setting their car on fire during the protests against the proposed bill on transparency of foreign influence.

A few days ago, the police arrested the assailant. We have all seen the footage of one of the anarchists throwing a Molotov cocktail at the police. This person intended to burn the police officer alive”, he said.

“I came out and expressed my stance that we would not forgive anyone [for acts like this]. This is unacceptable. That is a red line on which we will be uncompromising”, the PM added.

The Government head also claimed the demonstrators had planned to “sow constant chaos” with the “ultimate goal” to “destabilise our country [and] change the Government by violent means”, which he said would “not succeed”.

He also accused the “regressed, extremist” opposition of being against “high economic growth, peace, stability” in the country, and of “doing everything to sacrifice their own country and citizens’ security”.

[...] I want to remind everyone of what happened in the United States during the attack on the Capitol [on January 6, 2021] - four people were killed on the spot, four people [...] who had broken into the Congress building”, Garibashvili said.

He contrasted the Capitol incidents with protests in the Georgian capital by saying critics of the Government expected no punishment for “anarchists [who attempted to storm] the Parliament building, [...] [and attacked] the police with Molotov cocktails”.

He also recalled the practice of European countries by saying “when it comes to security and stability in Europe, there is an uncompromising struggle”. 

The police [in Tbilisi] acted so cleanly [that] no one was actually injured - we acted very carefully, and today they tell us that if it turns out that [when] some anarchist throws a Molotov cocktail and stones are thrown at the police, we should turn a blind eye to this. Of course this will not happen, and the law will be enforced against everyone”, he added.

The PM pledged authorities would not punish anyone “unfairly” and urged the public to remain calm, before stressing the need for “peace, tranquillity, more jobs, [...] more prosperity”.

Today, the Government is meeting the challenge and standing firm and strong. We are maintaining peace, stability, high economic growth, and no one can oppose us on this path”, he concluded. 

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