TBILISI, DFWatch-A group of Nigerian students were physically assaulted in the Dighomi neighborhood of Tbilisi Sunday evening. They claim the attack was unprovoked and motivated by racism.
The incident, which took place on a playground as the students were playing football, has triggered a heated debate in Tbilisi with differing accounts about what caused the brawl.
“We were playing soccer at 6 pm today on a public pitch, when a Georgian man walked up to us and demanded we leave the pitch. We asked why? And his reply was that we should leave the pitch and f*** off and leave his country,” Ben Zege, a student at New Vision University, wrote on Facebook. Attached to his post is a video which shows the assault from close up.
Locals, however, deny that the fight had anything to do with racism. They claim that one of the Nigerian student provoked the conflict by punching a man who approached them to ask them to leave the pitch so local children could use it.
Another video published by Palitra appears to be filmed from an adjacent high rise and shows the local men punching and kicking the Nigerian students. More locals join in and continue beating and kicking the Nigerians, who eventually flee in a hail of swear words.
The Nigerian students called the police but were not satisfied with how they handled the incident.
“We immediately called the police for our safety. Due to language barrier, the Georgians easily lied and twisted the story. Saying they peacefully told us to leave the pitch for the children to play. The translator provided for us by the police didn’t understand English enough to translate well. We even showed the police the full video from the beginning and to our greatest surprise, the police told us to forget about it try to forgive these men. None of the Georgian assaulters were arrested. No form of apology was demanded from them. Nothing! Nada! Why??? The question is now if the case was reversed, if it was blacks assaulting Georgians, will the police the this nonchalant about the situation. Sorry for the long narrative but we must continue the fight to stop racism. In this 21st century??? Unbelievable!!” Ben Zege wrote in a Facebook post.
On Monday, the police launched a formal inquiry into the case based on clause 126 of Georgia’s criminal code, which covers physical violence and carries a prison sentence of up to six years.