TBILISI, DFWatch–Police detained eight more people on criminal charges on Saturday as the blame game continues for last weekend’s violent riot in Batumi.
Altogether, the number of detainees has now reached 100, all of them men, the local newspaper Batumelebi reports.
Most of the detainees have been charged with administrative offenses and released from custody. But the city court in Batumi placed six in pre-trial detention, and has still to decide on the fate of two.
Meanwhile, politicians are blaming each other. The ruling Georgian Dream has not let go of its theory that the largest opposition party UNM was behind the unrest. Irakli Chkhvirkia, an activist from the UNM-linked youth group Free Zone (Tavisupali Zona), was expelled from that party a week ago after appearing on TV among the crowd of rioters and demanding the police chief’s resignation within half an hour.
But although some UNM members and others expressing solidarity with the protest early on, they distanced themselves from the riot when it turned violent. The UNM denied the accusations of having organized the protest and in turn blamed the authorities for mismanaging the problem.