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Members of ruling party beaten in West Georgia

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, October 4
Three young members of the ruling party, Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG), were taken to Zugdidi hospital after being beaten in the village of Didinedzi, western Georgia, late on Saturday.

According to representatives of the GDDG, the injured people were distributing fliers when members of the opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM) approached them and physically and verbally abused them.

A member of GD, Meri Shengelaia, explained that the UNM representatives were drunk.

“They protested when we were distributing fliers and newspapers of the GDDG, and because of this they beat our representatives,” she stated.

A doctor of Zugdidi hospital said the health condition of the affected people is stable. One person had small injuries and was discharged from the hospital soon. 19-year old girl and a boy, 18 are still staying in hospital with the diagnosis of brain concussion.

The members of the GDDG and the UNM arrived at the hospital. The Deputy Health Minister, Valeri Kvaratskhelia also visited the injured people.

Both political parties gave different versions of the incident. The UNM says this is a “well-organized provocation” from the ruling party before the October 8 parliamentary elections.

A nember of the UNM political Council, Tengiz Gunava, explained that the head of the UNM headquarters in Didinedzi, Papuna Kukava, was driving home with his family when GD members blocked the road, verbally abused him and refused to let him go.

“After this, Kukava’s neighbors joined in the incident and a clash took place,” said Gunava, and added that the investigation was launched into the case, which would find out the truth.

The UNM says Papuna Kukava and his neighbor were detained and taken to the police for questioning. They believe the incident was planned by the local governor Levan Shonia, GDDG majoritarian candidate Edisher Toloraia and the GDDG governor candidate Lasha Gogia.

“The UNM believes that this is well-planned provocation from the Georgian Dream…they know that they will lose the elections in Zugdidi and want to maintain power by provocative actions. They will not be able to achieve this,” the statement released by the UNM reads.

In response to the UNM, the GDDG called on its supporters not to react on the “provocative actions” of the opposition party.

GDDG's majoritarian candidate in Zugdidi Merab Kvaraia held a special briefing in connection with the incident. According to him the UNM continues violence, which affected three young members of the GDDG.

“The GDDG will do its best to finish elections in a quiet and peaceful environment with the victory of the Georgian Dream on October 8,” Kvaraia addressed the members and supporters of the GDDG.

Public Defender Ucha Nanusahvili also commented on the issue.

“The Public Defender calls on law enforcement agencies to promptly and effectively investigate the fact and not to leave any manifestation of violence without adequate response,” the ombudsman’s statement reads.