TBILISI, June 1. /TASS/. Certain groups have been trying to destabilize the situation in Georgia, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze told reporters on Friday, commenting on the protests going on in the Georgian capital.
"In Georgia, everyone has the right to speak freely, everyone can express their views, but the forces that seek to destabilize the situation and fuel protests, should know that we will not let anyone do that," Kaladze said.
At the same time, the mayor stressed that the country’s authorities would always act within the law. "We must not allow the people with blood on their hands to use the Saralidze family tragedy to achieve their own goals," Kaladze concluded.
According to a TASS correspondent, a mass protest is taking place near the parliament building in downtown Tbilisi, with people demanding the government’s resignation. There are many members of opposition parties among protesters.
Officials say that "certain forces are trying to manipulate the people’s feelings." In response, protesters point to the apolitical nature of their activity, adding that the demand of the government’s resignation is based on its inability to ensure the rule of law.
The protests in Georgia began on Thursday after a court hearing of a case concerning the murder of two teenagers - David Saralidze and Levan Dadunashvili - in December 2017. As the court did not found neither of the two defendants guilty, David’s father Zaza Saralidze said that the murder had not been investigated properly, while the prosecution was "covering those responsible." Zaza initiated a rally demanding Prosecutor General Irakly Shotadze’s resignation, causing the latter to step down.
Protesters later started demanding the cabinet’s resignation. Overnight into Friday, Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili came to meet with the rally’s participants but they did not let him say a word. After that, the prime minister addressed a special briefing, saying he did not plan to resign and adding that the murder case had been handed over to the Interior Ministry so that Interior Minister Georgy Gakharia could monitor the investigation.