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Policemen, Protesters Injured in Clash
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 28 May.'09 / 23:30

Several protesters and five policemen were reportedly injured in a clash close to the protest venue outside the Parliament late on May 28.

There are conflicting reports about how the clash erupted, before a concert to entertain protesters started on the Rustaveli Avenue.

A Tbilisi-based pro-opposition Maestro TV reported that a group of unknown men attacked protesters standing not far from the Parliament. Television pictures aired by Maestro TV showed dozens of men in civilian clothing clashing with each other on a small street near the Parliament.

Some men were in masks armed with rubber and wooden sticks. Some protesters were also seen holding large wooden sticks, what seemed to be a flag handles. TV pictures also showed four protesters carrying an injured young men with blood stains on his head.

Some opposition politicians present at the protest venue outside the Parliament blamed the Interior Ministry for staging an attack on protesters.

The Interior Ministry, however, said in a statement posted on its website that its employee, who was recording events at the protest venue with camera was “detained” by protesters.

“He [the ministry employee] was taken with use of force to one of the nearby apartment’s entrance. He managed to inform policemen about the fact via mobile phone,” the Interior Ministry said in the statement. “When police officers, who came to the site, tried to free detained police employee protesters resisted and wounded five police officers with cold weapons. Police officers were hospitalized.”

The incident is the major one since the May 6 confrontation between the police and protesters outside the Tbilisi police headquarters.

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