Imedi and Rustavi 2 television stations focused on current debates regarding police violence in their most popular weekly programs on May 7 and alleged that the May 2 police operation in downtown Tbilisi was a demonstration of inadequate use of force by the police.
Two persons were killed and one was badly injured after a police special purpose unit opened fire on their car in downtown Tbilisi on May 2. The police insist that fire was opened only after the criminal suspects refused to surrender. The police operation was condemned by human rights groups, as well as Public Defender Sozar Subari.
Imedi’s weekly program Droeba (Times) and Rustavi 2’s Currier P.S. interviewed witnesses of the incident who cast doubts about police statements.
In a separate story aired during same the same program, the TV program Currier P.S. reported the details of another police operation which occurred near Kutaisi, western Georgia, on February 24 wherein three people were killed. This report also casts doubts over the official version and alleges that the police used excessive force.
These TV reports, and especially the one on Rustavi 2, seem to be yet another blow for Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, who is facing increasing pressure from the opposition to resign over a high-profile murder scandal involving the death of 28-year-old Sandro Girgvliani.