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Protests over abuse of prisoners continue in Tbilisi

September 21, 2012, 6:20 UTC+3

The crowd rejoiced on hearing the news about the dismissal of the interior minister

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TBILISI, September 21 (Itar-Tass) — Despite the dismissal of Georgian Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia, protests over the abuse of prisoners in Georgia continue in Tbilisi. There are mainly students and representatives of youth organizations among protesters.

The action began late on Wednesday after two television stations aired on Tuesday graphic videos of guards abusing prisoners. At first some 2,000 people participated, but then the crowd of protesters thinned to about 400 or less.

The crowd rejoiced on hearing the news about the dismissal of the interior minister. People speaking at the action called the sacking of Akhalaia as “one more victory on the road towards justice and the establishment of democracy”.

Students burned down dozens of brooms, which they had brought along as a symbol of cruelty and lawlessness in Georgian prisons, as videos showed prison guards using brooms. That is why people have been bringing them along for the past two days and have thrown them into the building of the State Chancellery or burned them down as a sign of protest.

A large part of participants in the action stated their intention to join on Friday protesters who stay in the square in front of the Philharmonic Hall demanding that Akhalai be brought to trial.

The events of the past three days have already been dubbed in Georgia “Gldanigate”. Gldani is the name of the prison in Georgia’s Gldani district. The minister responsible for Georgia’s prisons, Khatuna Kalmakhelidze, resigned on September 19. Bacho Akhalaya was sacked on Thursday.

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