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Last updated: 10:55 - 1 May.'18
MIA Admits Firing Projectiles in May 6 Clash
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2 Jun.'09 / 19:39

Protester shows a projectile fired by riot police during confrontation at the Tbilisi police headquarters late on  May 6. Photo: InterPressNews

After an initial rejection, the Interior Ministry has acknowledged firing projectiles to protesters in a confrontation outside the Tbilisi police headquarters on May 6.

Dozens of protesters, including several opposition leaders (most of them hit into the head), were injured in the incident and two protesters who were hit by projectiles had lost sight in one eye.

Projectiles, which were found at the incident site, visually resembled the ones used in 18mm FN 303 less lethal launcher, manufactured by FN Herstal. The Interior Ministry, however, has been rejecting so far that rubber bullets or any other type of projectiles were used. On Civil.Ge’s direct question on May 7 whether the police used FN 303 launchers, a senior Interior Ministry official declined to respond citing sensitivity of the matter.

The bimonthly Georgian magazine, Liberali (Liberal), runs an article this week saying that it had been shown by the Interior Ministry two types of launchers, which were used by the riot police on May 6. The one, it said, was ALSL6-type launcher firing rubber bullets (which was also used by the riot police on November 7, 2007) and another one FN 303 firing impact projectiles (on the picture above).

“Our official position was not to speak about it [use of launchers] in order not to make the situation tense,” Shota Utiashvili, a head of the Interior Ministry’s analytical department, told the Liberali.

According to outline procedures regarding the safe operation of the FN 303 launchers, an operator should avoid firing a target into the head. The Liberali, however, reports citing the Interior Ministry officials that they were not aware of that instruction outlined in the launcher’s safety procedures.

“It was dark [during the May 6 incident] and only upper part of body was visible for riot policemen,” the magazine quoted Shalva Janashvili, the deputy interior minister.

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