Recent unrest in Tbilisi which saw young clubbers and far-right demonstrators facing off in street protests have highlighted divisions between Georgia’s long-standing conservative traditions and emerging, more liberal views.
The protests against what young activists deemed an attack on freedom followed police raids on two popular Tbilisi night clubs.
Armed police stormed two of Georgia’s most popular nightclubs in the early morning of May 12, supposedly as part of a drugs raid.
Those forced out of the Bassiani and Café-Gallery clubs began protesting and marched to parliament. Around 50 people were temporarily detained after clashes with the police, with amateur footage appearing to show clubbers being manhandled. Public defender Nino Lomjaria has vowed to look into allegations of abuse of power, noting that police had informed her that they had arrested eight suspected drug-dealers had been arrested hours before the raids on the clubs.
The rallies, which continued the following day and were dubbed the Raveolution by participants and social media users, were met with hostile counter-protests instigated by a number of far-right groups.