The Kremlin is seriously concerned over Thursday’s protests in Tbilisi, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on June, 21.
“What happened in Georgia yesterday is nothing but a Russophobic provocation. It certainly cannot but cause us concern as it reflected aggressiveness towards Russian nationals,” state-run news agency TASS quotes him.
According to him, ‘such manifestations of Russophobia’ may become an issue as many tourists visit Georgia.
Earlier, the protests broke out after Russian MP Sergei Gavrilov addressed the Inter-Parliamentary Orthodoxy Assembly which is being held in Tbilisi. The fact that he was sitting in the chair of the Georgian parliament speaker and speaking Russian caused public outcry in the country. In the context of the war that burst out in August 2008, many locals consider Russia an aggressor and invader and take a critical look at its efforts to have any influence in Georgia.
About 10,000 protesters came to the parliament building, demanding the resignation of its chairman Irakli Kobakhidze, Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia and head of the State Security Service Vakhtang Gomelauri. Some of them were carrying EU flags and posters ‘Russia Is Invader’.
According to Georgia’s Health Ministry, 240 persons got hurt. The police used riot control weapons, i.e. tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons. In turn, the participants of the rally were reported to be throwing bottles at the policemen and attacking them.