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.
World Press Freedom Day, May 3 was marked by a protest in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. Journalists, bloggers and NGO representatives gathered on Rustaveli ave., where a staged funeral of Georgian media took place. Some of the protesters brought posters saying “we deserve free media”, “media is not your monkey”, etc. The protest was joined by a group of young Georgians who demand an investigation of a recent suspicious prison death. Here are some photos and a video of the funeral:
Originally posted on the author’s blog.
By Giorgi Kikonishvili
“First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
This is the story of how a pastor Martin Niemoller, Hitler’s ex-supporter was left alone in front of the destructive power of the Fuhrer, just because he didn’t fought against the unfairness at the right time, due to the personal careerist or non-careerist interests. He didn’t meddle in!
Almost twenty years ago over 300,000 people were forced to leave their homes and to go, well, anywhere, on the another part of Georgia. On they road, part of the people were victims of other Georgians, who were expecting some “profit” from the IDP’s “wealth”. some of the IDPs became victims of unbearable weather conditions and mostly of the starvation. People, who at least more or less peacefully arrived alive at other cities, were housed in the old buildings, mostly in the inhuman conditions. During the twenty years some of them managed to adopt new life conditions, they even got new jobs, began business activities. Unfortunately many IDPs were dead due to the psychical and psychological traumas provoked by the war. For the last twenty years tens of thousand our civilians, living near us, were absolutely ignored, as if they didn’t live. Their trouble was NOT considered as ours, as well. We were ready to held tens of drinking parties, to drink those hypocritical toasts about our “beautiful country and people”, whereas the IDPs, living in our neighborhood might have the ability to either buy a brad, or not.
Also posted on Global Voices
By Mirian Jugheli
Four months ago, on 11 October 2010, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who fled the wars over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia began to protest government indifference towards them. Tented in the yard of the Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, several IDPs have been demanding that the government halt evictions, which have so far seen over 80 families removed from temporary accommodation, and to provide them with proper housing.
However, not a single official has come to talk to them about these issues and their concerns that alternative accommodation offered by the government is located in villages isolated from regional centers and which lack proper schools and hospitals. Online publications such as EurasiaNet have already reported about conditions in such locations, noting that the new housing often lacks windows and basic amenities such as water, electricity and gas.
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.
On August 7, 2010, 12:00 noon approximately 50 Georgians gathered in front of the UN headquarters in New York to protest two years of Russian occupation of Georgia. The protest was peaceful and lasted for an hour. Protesters held flags of Georgia and posters like “Russia get out of Georgia” or “Russia gives us back our homes”.
Among all the protesters were IDPs from Abkhazia who have not been in their homes for almost 20 years.
Photos by Mirian Jugheli