From the Georgian International Media Centre:
Police attack veterans in centre of Tbilisi
Submitted by georgiamedia on Tue, 04/01/2011 – 14:07
Georgia’s central-government-controlled police force yesterday attacked veterans of the Georgian-Abkhaz war in the centre of Tbilisi, breaking up what had been a small and peaceful protest by the main war memorial (pictured) in Heroes Square.
The veterans say they believe the police attack was on the direct orders of Mikheil Saakashvili – who many of them hold in contempt for his constant nationalist rhetoric about recovering Abkhazia despite his conspicious failure to serve in the conflict. They say the president’s motorcade drove past them and within two hours the police were on hand to smash up their protest.
Civil.ge report that the major media channels – including the “public broadcaster” on which so much western effort has been targeted in the hope of building a credible news gathering fuction – in Georgia completely ignored the protest and its break up, preferring to highlight Moscow police attacking protestors than report on similar events right on their doorstep.
With Maestro TV remaining in a state of suspended animation the only channel to cover the story was the small Tbilisi cable station Kavkasia.
The lack of media coverage has allowed MPs to claim today they did not even know of the attack, so giving them the opportunity to dodge any questions.
Those who were arrested yesterday are being charged with hooliganism – a catch-all charge preserved from the Soviet criminal code – and resisting the police.
Veterans say they will return to the war memorial today to protest about their treatment.
Storm over police attack on veterans protest continues to build: here.