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UNM Holds Primaries in Batumi Amid Protests
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 21 Jul.'13 / 22:39

Like in Zugdidi a day earlier, anti-UNM protesters also gathered in Batumi on Sunday outside Sheraton hotel where the party was holding a conference as part of its primaries.

Some protesters, who were shouting insults at UNM leaders as they were arriving, also tossed various objects including eggs; two men were arrested by the police, which were cordoning off the area not allowing protesters to approach UNM members.

Both of the detainees were released after the court in Batumi fined one of them with GEL 100 and asked the police to present more evidence against another.

12 people were arrested after a similar incident in the town of Zugdidi on July 20, where anti-UNM protesters threw various objects, reportedly also stones, at UNM leaders as they were arriving at a conference held in frames of primaries. All 12 men were released after being fined with GEL 100 each.

“Civilized dialogue in this country will be impossible if the price of stone throwing is 100 Lari,” Davit Bakradze, the UNM parliamentary minority leader and likely presidential candidate, said earlier on Sunday.

He thanked the police for “good work” as they were cordoning off venues where UNM was holding its conferences in Zugdidi and Batumi, but also stressed that it was not enough and the government should send strong message that the violence would not be tolerated.

In Batumi UNM held its fifth regional conference primaries, which involves holding of debates between the four candidates; delegates of each such conference cast ballot to their favorite candidate after the debates.  Like in four previous similar conferences, the recent event in Batumi was also won by UNM parliamentary minority leader Davit Bakradze. The remaining sixth and final conferences will be held in Tbilisi on July 27. 

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