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IDPs and street vendors clash with Tbilisi police

By Messenger Staff
Friday, August 20
Thursday's rally of IDPs and street vendors ended in a clash with the police. About 200 IDPs and street vendors gathered at the Presidential Palace in Avlabari early on Thursday and later marched to the Parliament. The demonstrators demanded the registration of the alternative dwellings for the IDPs living in Tbilisi and the legalisation of street vendor activities in the capital. The rally, organized by the Conservative Party and People’s Party was joined by the movement Ara ('No'), the NGO Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights, as well as the NGO 'Solidarity to Political Prisoners'.

Several of the rally's participants were slightly injured as a result of the incident between police officers and demonstrators at the Parliament building. Police detained one of the leaders of the People’s Party, Aleko Shalamberidze and the Ara movement activist, Levan Chitadze. The organisers of the rally decided to dissolve the demonstration after the clash with the police.

Lasha Chkhartishvili of the Conservative Party assessed the incident as an “open provocation” against the demonstrators. “Police were trying to illegally arrest the rally's organisers and indeed managed to arrest one of the leaders of People’s Party and an Ara movement activist,” Chkhartishvili noted “We are not going to put up with the government's illegal actions. We are going to fight to the end,” he added.

On August 25 the IDPs will gather in Mziuri Park and on August 26 another joint rally will be held outside the Presidential Palace.