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Armenian diocese disagrees with police

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, July 23
The Diocese of Georgia of the Armenian Apostolic Church disagrees with the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs’ assessment on the incident that occurred nearby the Holy Etchmiadzin Armenian Church in Tbilisi.

Church representatives claim that Georgian law-enforcement did not give a relevant qualification to the case that occurred in front of the church several days ago.

According to the statement by the Diocese of Georgia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, in the evening of July 19, a group of people carried out a planned attack against the clergy of the Holy Etchmiadzin Church. According to the witnesses, the reason of the clash was because of a car that was parked in the wrong place.

“The incident, which occurred near the Holy Etchmiadzin Armenian Church in Tbilisi, did not have an ethnic basis,” the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has stated.

“The clash took place in the street because of parking. The investigation is conducted on charges of causing bodily injuries,” the MIA states.

Church officials say they did not agree with the ministry statement concerning ordinary hooliganism, and demand an investigation.

According to Diocese attorney Levon Isakhanyan, five clergy members suffered injuries as a result of the incident.

“What happened was the first incident of such extent. [But] the important thing is to do everything so that this kind of thing will not happen again,” Isakhanyan added.

The statement made by the spirituals caused dissatisfaction among those participating in the clash. As it turned out, there were ethnic Armenians on both sides.

Tamaz Khachaturov, one of the participants of the clash, states that the Armenian spirituals are trying to cause ethnic rivalry, when it had nothing to do with ethnicity.

“The clash was caused due to a petty little thing, the clash itself was provoked more by the spirituals,” Khachaturov claims.

Arnold Stepanyan, head of Multiethnic Georgia, also excludes any clash on religious or ethnic grounds. He stresses that the statement made by the church representatives was prompt and anti-state. According to him, such types of statements might be very risky and cause real confrontation when the initial reason might be totally different.

The church representatives disagree with the statements and are still firm over changing the qualification of the case.

Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili appealed to law-enforcers to investigate the case appropriately, taking all details into account as there might have been some other crimes committed, not only hooliganism.