On September 27th in Tbilisi, Georgia, various nationalists groups held a demonstration that culminated in the arrests of several nationalists. YesPasaran caught up with a Georgian nationalist using the pseudonym Peter Stahl to find out what happened that day.
Yes Pasaran: Let’s start from the beginning. What was the demonstration about?
Peter Stahl: The demonstration was held to commemorate the fall of Sokhumi, the capital of Abkhazia, in the 90’s war.
YP: What groups were involved in the demonstration?
PS: There were various Nationalist groups participating, including “Georgian Power”, “Nationalist Legion”, “Edelweiss”, “Idea”, “Pan-European Ethno-Nationalism”, as well as football fans like “Bergmann”, “Ultras Dinamo”, etc. The event was open for everyone holding Nationalistic/Right Wing views. Dress code was black/military uniforms.
YP: How many people would you say there were all together?
PS: About 150.
YP: Where in the city was it held?
PS: We gathered up on the central Rustaveli ave., near Metro station, then we marched down the “Heroes’ Square”, where memorial of the fallen war participants is located, several participants made speeches, gave interviews and we marched on to Aghmashenebeli ave.
YP: Did anybody actually attack Turkish businesses, & what prompted this if they did?
PS: As I mentioned earlier, the demo was open to participate in, therefore there were those, who were completely foreign to us. Some of the participants, mostly of minor age and inexperienced, initiated and imitated behaviors that contradicted the clearly defined code and discipline of the rally, which was to be held absolutely in accordance with the law and public order.
As a result, there were few cases of trampling advertisement bill-boards, throwing pyrotechnics towards the restaurants, etc. Nothing major, in essence.
YP: The media is making it out to be some kind of riot.
PS: The media, just like in the rest of Europe, is extremely biased and serves a clearly defined agenda, which is anti-Nationalist.
YP: So what happened in regards to the arrests?
PS: The arrests were strange and bizzare: a handful of Police squads were continuously following us during the whole event. They did not react specifically on the skirmishes that occurred during the march. Later on, when we were gathering ourselves to continue towards the Rustaveli ave. again, the Police surrounded us and ordered not to move, placed a detention car near the crowd and after a brief pause, started arresting people randomly, regardless of their involvement in activities in question or even participation in the demonstration – they simply started arresting everybody standing there, excluding females.
YP: I heard most were let go without even a fine?
PS: Those were minors, that was the reason they were not fined. But the “fine” itself was not for the crime, but for the bail-out before the main court hearing.
YP: So they are all still facing charges.
PS: All arrested, including the seven minors, are to be charged for the same crimes. At least, that’s what the State wants to accomplish.
YP: Did the others make bail, or do they have a bail fund set up if they did not?
SP: From 5 of those held, 3 or 4 made it out already. As for the others, one of them is our guy, who will most likely make it out in several days, and the other guy, well, nobody knows him and, therefore, his whereabouts. Most likely, he got out.
YP: So what happened at the demonstration, after the arrests?
PS: We scattered, so as not to be caught.
YP: Is there anything else you would like to add before we wrap things up?
PS: We will not back down in spite of the injustice and harshness against us, and the clear will to suppress us demonstrated by the State & we will continue our fight with even more vigor and focus.