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29 May, 2009 11:06

Fight breaks out between Georgian police and protesters

A clash during an opposition rally calling for President Saakashvili’s resignation late on Thursday night in Georgia resulted in the stabbing of five police officers as well as injuring at least ten protestors.

Opposition leaders say that during a meeting-concert Georgian police attacked a group of protesters resulting in ten receiving injuries. During the fight one of the protester’s heads was cracked open, but the attackers then had to flee from the incident when backup came to the opposition.

One of the leaders of the opposition Georgy Khaindrava said that the attackers were “police from the special forces of the Interior Ministry and were dressed in civilian clothing and attacked protesters with police batons.”

Georgian officials confirm that five police officers were stabbed in clashes with protesters during opposition rallies.

The Georgian Interior Ministry alleged that “members of the opposition detained a plainclothes policeman who was making a video recording of the opposition’s rally.”

“The opposition supporters, using force, led the detained policeman into a nearby house, but he called for the help by telephone. The police who arrived at the scene tried to free their colleague, but opposition supporters offered resistance, inflicting stab wounds on five police,” the ministry’s report read.

The Interior Ministry said that the officers had been hospitalized while two of the injured required surgery.

Seven of the protesters that were hospitalized last night, have been held as they were exiting the hospital. The reason remains the suspicion of their participation in last night’s fight, reports the NGO “Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights” to RIA-Novosti.

The Georgian Ministry neither confirmed nor denied the detention, but said that 30 people had already been questioned as witnesses.

Commenting on the latest events, opposition leader Nino Burdzhanadze said:

“The tension is very high from provocations from the government despite the fact that we are calling for a solution to the political crisis. but the president refused to say there is a political crisis, and instead of resolving it he is traveling all around the world and yesterday attended a football match, which is not bad, but not when you have a crisis in your country.”

The attacks sparked fears that the violence is a sign that the almost daily demonstrations will turn into widespread unrest.

Mass rallies began in April and protesters say they will continue protesting until Saakashvili leaves office.