TBILISI, June 22. /TASS/. Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili described as "tragedy" the riots that broke out outside the country’s parliament in the capital Tbilisi on Thursday night.
"I would like to express the pain in my heart, caused by the tragedy in Tbilisi. People were injured - some because they were protecting the state order, others because they took to streets to defend their honor and the honor of their nation and found themselves in the middle of a situation that went out of control. However, some people were injured because they followed politically motivated, totally reckless and mischievous calls," said Zurabishvili, who was forced to wrap up her official visit to Belarus and urgently return to Georgia.
She said she was ready to meet with representatives of all political forces for whom violence and destructive slogans are inadmissible.
On June 20, several thousand protesters converged on the parliament in downtown Tbilisi, demanding the resignation of the interior minister and the parliament’s speaker, and tried to storm the building. In response, police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators. According to Georgian media, dozens were detained, 240 people suffered injuries and 55 of them remain in hospitals.
The protests were sparked by an uproar over a Russian State Duma delegation’s participation in the 26th session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO). On Thursday morning, IAO President Gavrilov opened the session in the Georgian parliament building. Opposition lawmakers were outraged by the fact that Gavrilov addressed the event’s participants from the parliament speaker’s seat. In protest, they did not allow the IAO session to continue.