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The Interior Minister Voices Changes during his Speech in Parliament

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, May 21
(TBILISI)--The Georgian Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Gakharia spoke in Parliament on Friday about the anti-drug raids in Tbilisi night clubs of Bassiani and Café Gallery on May 12 and to answer to the lawmakers’ questions.

In his speech Gakharia thanked the police as they “acted within the law” during the raid.

“No one has yet provided even a single fact that the police exceeded their power during the raid,” Gakharia said.

“If such a fact is revealed and confirmed, we are ready to react appropriately,” Gakharia said.

The minister stated that the police raided in the two nightclubs only after they had “clear evidences”.

“We chose the midnight for the operation as club life starts at night. Police apologize for disturbing people and explained the reason of the raid.

“We caused discomfort of 70-100 people in the clubs who arrived there for entertainment. However, the raid took place because of the public interests and the benefits brought by the raid are significant ,” Gakharia stated.

Gakharia said that no one can say that anyone was even slightly harmed due to the actions of the police inside the clubs.

The minister praised the young people who held a large-scale rally in front of the parliament building following the raids, demanding a liberal drug policy.

He said that many young people have never used drugs and only protected the freedom of expression by standing at the rallies.

Gakharia stated that the three main sources of drugs in Georgia were the Ponichala district in the outskirts of Tbilisi, internet and clubs, and vowed the police will fight against the drug dealing in all three and other cases.

The minister also announced that infantry patrol police officers will appear at Tbilisi tourist zones from today to ensure safety and order and to provide support to tourists when asked and needed.

Minister stated that initially 20 patrol police infantry crews will walk in Tbilisi with the new task.

“Gradually, in several weeks, the number of units will reach 60, which will completely cover all tourist zones of Tbilisi,” Gakharia said.

Gakharia stated that the reason for the decision was increased tourist traffic in Georgia, which benefits the state economy and at the same time increased safety threats.

The increased inflow of tourists carries risks which should be addressed,” Gakharia said.

He also voiced the initiative about replacing district inspectors with district officers.

Gakharia said that the current role of district inspectors was not effective against crime and crime prevention.

"The district officer is the position of critical importance for us. It is something new that should become the foundation of the new police. These will be the best people, young people, with best equipment, relevant social guarantees and appropriate education”, the minister said.

He stated that there is a need of 365 such officers in Tbilisi.

“80 officers have already been trained,” Gakharia said.

He said that beginning June 10 the vacancy will open to hire relevant people for the position.