Demonstrations in Georgia after police detain opposition leader
Police stormed Georgian opposition leader party offices and arrested him on Tuesday. The arrest of Nika Melia, head of the United National Movement, aggravates that political tensions rising since the October parliamentary election that the opposition is demanding be rerun.
The demonstration was attended by most major opposition leaders, including those of the European Georgia, Lelo, Labour, and Strategy Aghmashenebeli parties and Nino Burjanadze, who announced another protest march on Friday.
Per police reports, more than ten people were injured in the scuffles between police and activists.
For more information about how to stay safe during the protests, please see our safety ADVISORY.
Safety Advisory - Protest
If you are in the area of the incident, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.
Some protests have resulted in violence and/or looting. Even protests which are intended to be peaceful can become violent.
What can go wrong
- Noise can make communication difficult
- Communication can fail
- Group of people can be there because of the wrong reasons
- Police can use force
- Police can you the pepper spray
- Group of people who do not think the same as you and other protesters can attack you
How to stay safe
- If you hear that a demonstration is taking place, avoid the area or stay in your accommodation until you are sure that it is safe to go out
- Establish where the demonstration has taken place, and if possible, avoid the area
- If you come across a demonstration, do not become inquisitive, just leave the area and find another route to your intended destination
- Do not run
- Be calm and focused: when things get most intense, react to danger or warning signs
- Know your rights
- Avoid direct police contact
Interacting with the police
- If you are stopped by the police, be calm and cooperate. They are not enemies
- In case you are arrested, do not argue with the police. Know your right, and ask for a lawyer immediately
- If your friend or family members is in a clash with the police do not confront them. Try to be calm, and ask them to move back from the police. Be the voice of reason
- If you need emergency assistance, calmly approach to police and ask them for help
- If you are attending to protest write down emergency numbers.
- Always inform your friends or family members that you are going to protest
- If protest escalates, immediately find a safe space.
- Remember, it's not about you. Maybe you are angry, but the act of violence is not an answer
- For your safety, always be accompanied by a minimum of one person
- Be aware that undercover police may be in the crowd
- Do not put yourself in danger. Your words need to be heard, but your safety is a priority
- Protect your mobile phone privacy