Thousands of people have gathered in the streets in Tbilisi, Georgia to protest against last night brutal drug raids by police on the two popular electronic music venues Bassiani and Café Gallery of the capital, asking for the resignations of the interior minister and the prime minister.
Armed police stormed in the Georgian clubs early in the morning on May 12th as part of the government’s response to five drug-related deaths in the past two weeks, probably connected to Bassiani nightclub. That night they arrested about 60 people, including Bassiani co-founders Tato Getia and Zviad Gelbakhiani.
Around 4.000 demonstrators have decided to gather in front of the Georgian Parliament in Tbilisi in the afternoon of May 12th, after setting a sound system on the steps of the building and dancing to electronic music as a protest.
Mariam Murusidze, former booker at Café Gallery, after joining the protest, said: “They gathered in front of parliament, you could not imagine how many police were there, we were there until maybe six in the morning, when an activist made a statement saying we should go home, gather our strength, and come back at 3 PM.”
Members of the activist group White Noise Movement held a press conference with Tato Getia and Zviad Gelbakhiani, demanding the resignation of Georgia’s Interior Minister, and the country’s prime minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who had ordered the raids.
The only thing the protesters received was a statement from Mayor Kakha Kaladze, inviting club community to fight drug trafficking together with local authorities. The response brought the protesters to remain in the square overnight.
Artists such as Nina Kraviz, Ellen Alien, Rødhåd and DJ Nobu have expressed their support for protestors in Tbilisi following the second day of demonstrations against the government.