TBILISI, DFWatch–The trial about a brutal police dispersal of protesters on May 26, 2011, continued at Tbilisi City Court Monday with testimony by Nino Burjanadze, one of the leaders of the protest.
While Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement, was in court giving testimony, her supporters and supporters of the former interior minister Vano Merabishvili who is charged in the case, clashed together on the street outside. One person was detained.
Burjanadze recalled that she called Patriarch Ilia II before the night of May 26, 2011, as police were preparing to disperse the anti-government rally on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi.
She said she asked Ilia II, to ask the government to give rally participants more time to think. Later Ilia called her back and said he received a refusal from the president and speaker of parliament.
She said she was against continuing the rally on May 26 because she knew the government would use force, but she couldn’t imagine it would be so ‘brutal.’
Burjanadze said she thinks the goal of the police operation was to punish participants, not to disperse them, and she believes it was planned in such a way that there would be fatalities and blame the resulting blood on her.
She left rally at about 00:22-00:25 when it was already dispersed.
“Earlier at TVs they said that I had already left the area. Then they thought it would have been better idea that my escort killed a policeman,” she said adding that her son’s car was shot at with real bullets.
She believes this was ordered by ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili.
During the trial, supporters of Burjanadze and Vano Merabishvili were gathered outside. They got into a scuffle during which on person, a supporter of Burjanadze, was detained