Published: Sat, June 22, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Protesters try storming Georgian Parliament over Russian lawmaker's visit

Protesters try storming Georgian Parliament over Russian lawmaker's visit

Crowds angry over the visit of a Russian lawmaker tried to storm Georgia's parliament building on June 20 evening, pushing against lines of riot police, throwing bottles and grabbing riot shields from some officers and tearing off their helmets. "Although the government is saying that the protesters attempted to storm Parliament yesterday, many people believe that the response was completely over the top", he said, adding that at least 240 people were injured.

Though ostensibly about how Georgia handles relations with Russian Federation, with whom it fought and lost a brief war in 2008, opposition parties have sought to seize the moment to press much wider and unrelated demands and called on people to take to the streets again on Friday evening.

About 10,000 protesters had gathered outside parliament after a controversial address by Russian MP Sergei Gavrilov, with some breaking through riot police cordons to enter the parliament courtyard. That ambition has angered Moscow, the country's former Soviet overlord.

Police were present, though not in large numbers, and the protest, unlike Thursday's demonstration, was peaceful.

Opposition demonstrators gather in front of Georgian Parliament to call for the resignation of the speaker on Thursday.

The Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, which was founded in 1994 on the initiative of the Hellenic Parliament, is being held in Georgia until Sunday. Gavrilov supports independence for the regions and is a supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is despised by many Georgians.

"The Russian delegation will leave Georgia". Over 1 million Russian tourists holiday in Georgia each year.

FILE PHOTO: Georgia's President Salome Zurabishvili speaks during a conference dedicated to joint Georgia-NATO military exercises in Krtsanisi near Tbilisi, Georgia March 28, 2019. Some were carrying European Union flags and placards reading "Russia is an occupier". "The fifth column it manages may be more unsafe than open aggression", Zurabishvili posted on her Facebook page after the unrest.

India uses yoga diplomacy to assert rising global influence
Indian yoga practitioners take part in a session on the International Day of Yoga at the 15th-century Adalaj Stepwell in Adalaj. Yoga promotes health, well-being, and the unity of the body, mind, and soul through stretches, breath control, and meditation.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said in a statement that Moscow was outraged by the actions of what he called radical Georgian political forces whom he accused of propagating anti-Russian sentiment.

Russian influence in Georgia remains a politically sensitive subject.

The small south Caucasus nation, a USA ally, lost a short war against Moscow in 2008.

Georgia and Russian Federation fought a war in 2008, after which Russian Federation recognised two breakaway Georgian regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as independent states.

He said the incident was an attempt to use the situation to change the Georgian government.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the safety of Gavrilov and other members of the Russian delegation had been endangered. "An outrageous mistake has taken a place that has placed the entire team under a blow", he said, noting that the organizers of the IAO "will have to apologize and explain the Georgian society what and why has happened".

Georgia and its Soviet-era master Russian Federation have always been at loggerheads over Tbilisi's bid to join the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation with the spiralling confrontation culminating in a full-out war on August 8, 2008.

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