- Title: GEORGIA: Scuffles erupt in Tbilisi between pro- and anti-Russian activists
- Date: 27th March 2014
- Summary: TBILISI, GEORGIA (MARCH 27, 2014) (REUTERS) RALLY IN CENTRAL SQUARE, POLICE MAN WRAPPED IN RUSSIAN FLAG ARGUING WITH ANTI-RUSSIAN ACTIVIST SCUFFLES ERUPT DURING ARGUMENT VARIOUS OF SCUFFLES POLICE TRYING TO STOP ACTIVISTS FROM FIGHTING POLICE PUSHING ACTIVISTS AWAY OLD MAN WRAPPED IN U.S. FLAG MORE SCUFFLES ONE ACTIVIST STRANGLING ANOTHER POLICE PULLING ACTIVISTS AWAY FROM EACH OTHER, PUSHING ONE ACTIVIST INTO POLICE CAR POLICE CAR DRIVING AWAY (SOUNDBITE) (Georgian) ELGUDJA KHODELI, PRO-RUSSIAN ACTIVIST, SAYING: "We represent the non-governmental organization 'The Earth is our home'. We support those 11 Russian citizens against whom the U.S. government issued sanctions. And we now ask the U.S. Embassy to issue same American sanctions against us - 11 Georgian citizens." MAN SHOUTING (SOUNDBITE) (Georgian) TORES MOSE, ANTI-RUSSIAN ACTIVIST, SAYING: "We think it is a disgrace to raise occupant's flags in the capital of Georgia. Our goal is to show everyone, let the whole world know that Georgia will never reconcile with Russian occupation. This is our main message to the free world". POLICE ESCORTING PRO-RUSSIAN ACTIVIST ELGUDJA KHODELI PROTECTING HIM FROM PROTESTERS WOMEN BLOWING WHISTLES IN PROTEST AGAINST PRO-RUSSIAN RALLY AMBULANCE ARRIVING PRO-RUSSIAN ACTIVIST, INJURED DURING SCUFFLES, ESCORTED INTO AMBULANCE AMBULANCE DRIVING AWAY
- Embargoed: 11th April 2014 13:00
- Location: Georgia
- Country: Georgia
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA7D1C8WJ1FUX391V7X15H35N6Z
- Story Text: An attempt by several Georgians to hold a rally in support of Russia in central Tbilisi on Thursday (March 27) ended up in scuffles with several dozen anti-Russian protesters.
A pro-Russia rally planned to be held in the Georgian capital attracted more protesters than supporters, and when a few pro-Russian demonstrators appeared, scuffles erupted between the two groups.
Pro-Russian activists said they came to express solidarity with the Russians against whom the U.S. government imposed sanctions because of their involvement in annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, adding that they were prepared to ask the U.S. to impose same sanctions against Russian supporters in Georgia.
"We support those 11 Russian citizens against whom the U.S. government issued sanctions. And we now ask the U.S. Embassy to issue same American sanctions against us - 11 Georgian citizens," said Elgudja Khodeli who was wrapped in Russian flag during the rally.
So far, the United States and the EU have imposed personal sanctions against Russian and Crimean officials involved in the seizure of the peninsula and Washington has slapped visa bans and asset freezes on senior business figures close to Putin.
In 2008, Russian troops poured into Georgia to support the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Both regions proclaimed independence since then which only Russia and a few other countries recognised. Georgia sees them as occupied Georgian territories.
"We think it is a disgrace to raise occupant's flags in the capital of Georgia. Our goal is to show everyone, let the whole world know that Georgia will never reconcile with Russian occupation. This is our main message to the free world," said anti-Russian activist Tores Mose.
The United States and the European Union agreed on Wednesday (March 26) to work together to prepare possible tougher economic sanctions in response to Russia's behaviour in Ukraine, including on the energy sector, and to make Europe less dependent on Russian gas.
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