TBILISI, DFWatch–Plastic bottles, eggs, brooms and other objects were hurled at people marching through the center of Tbilisi Sunday evening to protest against what they call ‘Russian fascism in Georgia’.
The march was organized by political party European Georgia, which consists of former top members of the National Movement and split with it in 2016, in the wake of bitter confrontation with Mikheil Saakashvili. Several other political groups joined the rally, including the Republican Party and the Free Democrats.
The march was conceived as a counter rally against a the ‘Georgians’ March’ organized by far-right nationalists on July 14, which demanded tightening immigration rules, kicking out all illegals from the country, restricting financing of NGOs from abroad and banning UNM and other political parties associated with it, including European Georgia.
Upon hearing that EG planned a counter rally in the same location, Georgians’ March organizers called their supporters to gather on Agmashenebeli Avenue and to prevent the EG rally.
The church asked both groups to refrain from holding rallies in order to prevent clashes on Sunday. That weakened the resolve of Georgian March organizers, who repeatedly assert their allegiance to the Georgian Orthodox Church.
Nevertheless, dozens of bellicose nationalists tried to stem the march at the intersection of Agmashenebeli Ave and Louis Pasteur Street.
Although the police managed to prevent direct clashes between the two groups, the nationalists showered the members of the march with plastic bottles, eggs, brooms and other objects. At least one woman was lightly injured.
The small group of nationalists again attempted to attack the rally on Marjanishvili Square but again were prevented by the police.
European Georgia and many others in Georgia believe that gathering like Georgians’ March have either been directly supported by the Kremlin or may have been capitalized by it. This is the reason the counter protesters chose the slogan ‘Against Russian Fascism in Georgia’.