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Clash between two groups in Tbilisi

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Friday, October 3
Two individuals were detained and several injured due to a clash between two groups in Tbilisi on September 29.

The clash started after pro-UNM youth movement Free Zone physically abused Asaval-Dasavali newspaper journalist Zaza Davitaia. The fact was followed by several rallies and clashes.

Davitaia is a former prisoner, arrested under the previous government allegedly for attempting a coup with the support of the Russian intelligence service. He was released via the large-scale amnesty after the 2012 parliamentary elections.

Davitaia and his colleagues from Asaval-Dasavali stated that the journalist was attacked by 10-15 Free Zone members.

Jaba Khubua a colleague of Davitaia stated that Free Zone member Vazha Morgoshia called Davitaia. He threatened him and demanded to stop writing articles against former officials.

Tchkadua claims that he was provoked by Davitaia in the street and he had no information that he was a journalist.

“Statements about 10-15 men is a lie,” he said. Responding to the development, the Ministry of Interior Affairs detained both Chkadua and his friend Dato Gogokhia for hooliganism.

Following the beating of the journalist, Free Generation- a newly established group consisting of conservative youth gathered outside the Free Zone headquarter. Soon, others claiming to be former political prisoners, arrived. They tried to get in the building and confrontation erupted.

Both sides suffered minor injuries after the class. Eventually the police managed to deescalate the situation. Leader of the Free Zone and former Member of Parliament, Koba Khabazi, was also injured.

Khabazi stated that they had had information about the upcoming provocation and had warned police about it. “However, the MIA did nothing to prevent the incident, that’s why we had to protect ourselves,” stated Khabazi.

One of the members of Free Generation stated that they just went to the Free Zone office to protest the beating. “When we came there they rushed out, some of them were armed and attacked us,” he said.

Member of the UNM Zurab Japaridze stated this was planned by the Georgian Dream government through their satellite newspaper’s journalist. Fellow MP Giga Bokeria admitted that such facts are extremely dangerous. However, the Free Generation and former political prisoners stress that all the provocations come from the Free Zone, which is located in the UNM office.

On October 2 journalists and members of Free Generation rallied against the Free zone, protesting the incident in terms of Davitaia.