More than twenty people were arrested after a scuffle between police and May Day demonstrators in downtown Tbilisi on Wednesday.
The demonstration, which was organized by a student group Laboratory 1918 under the slogan “protect your labor rights”, gathered outside the Tbilisi State University and then marched through several of capital city’s thoroughfares.
Scuffle broke out when the demonstrators were marching on the Rustaveli Avenue as protesters spilled into the traffic lane.
The Interior Ministry said the police had to intervene and arrest “several dozen” of demonstrators after they ignored repeated warnings not to block the traffic; police also said that demonstrators were “violating public order” . As some demonstrators said they had to move from the pedestrian walkway to the roadway because number of protesters was large enough.
Chief of Patrol Police Department, Davit Tsinaridze, said “several hundred” people participated in the demonstration. He denied allegations that demonstrators were mistreated or insulted by the police.
The Interior Ministry said late on Wednesday evening that all the detained demonstrators had already been released, but administrative court proceedings would be carried out against them, which may involve fine.
Trade unions held a separate rally earlier on May 1 to mark the International Workers’ Day; the rally was held outside the building, which previously housed the parliament, on Rustaveli Avenue and proceeded without incidents.