At least one person was injured during a brawl at the offices of the Georgian Football Federation Friday, during an opposition rally against the presence of high-ranking government officials at the UEFA Cup qualifier between Georgia and North Macedonia in Tbilisi.
The match, which Georgia lost 0:1, was played without spectators due to Covid-19 restrictions, but dozens of fans gathered outside the stadium to follow the match from there. Some of them were fined by police for violating the curfew, to the amount of GEL 2,000 (USD 610).
Several government officials, however, including Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze, and ruling Georgian Dream Executive Secretary Irakli Kobakhidze, were spotted in the stadium’s VIP lounge. Screen grabs from videos depicting Georgian Dream leadership present at the match went viral on Georgian social media forums, triggering a storm of angry comments.
The opposition activists who turned up outside the GFF office said they had brought a “gift” to the federation, and produced the book “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, quoting the famous phrase that “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.
A brawl then broke out between protesters and GFF personnel. The opposition has identified several retired football players assaulting their activists. At least one protester was slightly injured in the melee.
Later, the GFF issued a statement saying that conflict was provoked by the opposition, naming MP Nika Melia of UNM.