The deaths of a police officer and a demonstrator amid the break-up of a Tbilisi street protest on May 26 have opened a grim, new chapter Georgia’s political struggle between the government and its critics.
The trouble began shortly after midnight, when riot police moved to break up the protest by using water cannon in a driving rainstorm. Authorities also fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse a few hundred protesters on the Georgian capital’s main thoroughfare, Rustaveli Avenue. The demonstration was organized by former parliament speaker Nino Burjanadze, who is now one of President Mikheil Saakashvili’s most outspoken critics. Demonstrators had earlier vowed to occupy a portion of Rustaveli Avenue in front of the country’s parliament building with the intention of disrupting the government’s planned May 26 Independence Day parade.
To read the full story
Molly Corso is a freelance journalist based in Tbilisi. Temo Bardzimashvili is a freelance photojournalist based in Tbilisi.