Thursday, September 20, 2012 – Thousands of Georgians took it to the streets of Tbilisi over prison rape and abuse videos. On the third day of demonstrations, protesters gathered in front of the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office where they demanded resignation of Interior Minister Bacho Akhalia and other officials involved in atrocities. Later demonstrators moved to a prison hospital, where they were greeted by inmates waving napkins from the hospital windows. After an hour of protest students marched towards the presidential palace. Interior Minister Bacho Akhalia has resigned, however students will continue their protest on Day 4. Here are some photos from today:
Thousands of students marched in streets of Tbilisi on Wednesday to protest abuse and rape in Georgian prisons. Disturbing videos of prisoners being tortured by guards leaked on TV and immediately sparkled Georgians to come out and stand against violence. A protest was organized by the Tbilisi State University students, however they were joined by all major universities. At 3:30 pm students moved to the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) where they demanded the later to air abuse videos. After negotiating with the General Director of GPB students marched towards the Ministry of Internal Affairs where they were joined by drivers and local neighbors. Students demanded the Minister of Internal Affairs Bacho Akhalia and several other officials to step down. Protests were held in all major Georgian cities and across Europe.
Security Police Department of Georgia (spd.ge) began installing cameras in recreational areas and parks of Tbilisi. According to the PR office of SPD, 100 cameras will be installed in 7 parks as a part of the ongoing project “Safe Parks”. The surveillance cameras have already been installed in one of the biggest recreational areas – Vake Park.
Most of the recreational areas of Tbilisi are monitored by Security Police personnel; SPD thinks that after installing the cameras their job will get easier.
According to the Security Police, live cameras will allow the department to monitor parks 24/7, minimize the risk of crime and increase response rate on possible incidents.
It has to be noted that under the “Freedom Charter”, that was passed by the Georgian Parliament in May, 2011, Ministry of Internal Affairs is set to create a major surveillance system that will monitor strategic buildings, airports, subway and railway stations, public spaces and etc. It also obliges banks to inform the Ministry about large bank transfers to organisations or individuals.
Also posted on Global Voices
More than dozen veterans of Georgia’s wars in Abkhazia and South Ossetia began a hunger strike on December 27 demanding that the government address their social problems and restore their medical discounts. Camping out in front of a monument to fallen soldiers on Tbilisi’s Heroes Square, the ex-soldiers said that they would anyway leave on 6 January, the date of the Georgian Orthodox Christmas Eve.
Tamada Tales, a EurasiaNet blog, outlined their demands.
Demanding state benefits and a change in the government’s allegedly “undignified” attitude toward them, a handful of veterans of the 1990s separatist conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia had camped out for over a week at a war memorial to fallen soldiers at downtown Tbilisi’s Heroes Square. Their state perks are essentially limited to a monthly utilities allowance that amounts to about $12 and a free public transportation pass.