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Radical Nationalists Group Abuses Journalist for a Joke on Jesus

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, March 21
(TBILISI)--The Georgian radical nationalist group has verbally and physically abused the journalists of the opposition-minded Rustavi 2 private broadcaster after one of the journalists of the channel Giorgi Gabunia said during his show that Jesus Christ made a grave mistake to start preaching in Israel.

The nationalist Georgian March group members and the Orthodox Mothers’ Union appeared at Rustavi 2 headquarters early on March 19, a day after Gabunia stated that the Jesus Christ had made a mistake when he appeared in Israel centuries before.

“He [Jesus] should have come in Georgia’s Adjara region now as there would be no trees there for his crucifixion,” Gabunia said, referring to cutting of trees in the region “to please” the Georgian Dream ruling party founder, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.

The Georgian March members stated that Gabunia insulted religious feelings of believers and demanded an apology from him.

They sieged in a car where Gabunia and Rustavi 2 lawyer Tamta Muradashvili were sitting and “damaged the property” to make the two leave the vehicle, Rustavi 2 reported.

The channel journalists tried to help their colleagues and in the process Rustavi 2 sport journalist David Eradze received physical injuries.

Six people have been detained by police for violation and damaging of property.

The channel’s Director General Nika Gvaramia has held a special briefing, admitted that Gabunia’s statement insulted religious feelings and that the journalist was reprimanded for his words.

However, Gvaramia has demanded “tough punishment” from the government for those who behaved “like criminals” in the Rustavi 2 yard.

“I demand the people who abused our journalists to be punished in line with the Criminal Code and not the Administrative Code,” Gvaramia stated.

Rustavi 2, which claims that the Georgian Dream government fights against the channel for its “unbiased broadcasting,” frequently reports about Ivanishvili and his latest “obsession” to uproot centuries old trees in the coastal region of Adjara and transport them to Tbilisi.

As the trees are huge, smaller trees are cut and sometimes roads are damaged and the traffic blocked to change the location of the plants.

Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream coalition initiated by him in 2012 ended the nine-year rule of the United National Movement government under ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili.

The billionaire quit the Prime Minister’s post shortly and vowed to strengthen the civil sector.

The opposition states that the tycoon continues to run the country from the backstage.