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A year after the events of May 12

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, May 13
According to the report published by the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC), the clear and convincing political and legal response still has not been made regarding the events of May 12.

Last year, on May 12, a large number of police officers, including special purpose unit, entered the territory of several clubs in Tbilisi on Friday night when the clubs were full of people attending the events.

"Despite the promises made by the Ministry of Internal Affairs that the matter of Drug Policy would be 'solved in the very near future,' this issue was removed from the political and legislative agenda," reads the article published by EMC.

The organization says that considering the number of people detained, it was the largest operation in scale in the last few years. “After a year of May 12 events, we can say that the reasoning of the police operation stands under a big question. During the night of May 12, no one was arrested in the clubs, which further deepens the mistrust in the police action,” says the report.

On May 12, 2018, the special operation started in clubs Bassani and Cafe Gallery. A few hours earlier, eight people were arrested in different parts of Tbilisi for alleged involvement in the drug trade. According to EMC, "the police operation was conducted at a time when the drug policy reforms were extremely politicized."

“Clear and convincing political and legal responses to the May 12 events have not yet been issued. Even after one year, all the applications submitted to the Prosecutor's Office by the EMC remain unanswered,” says the NGO.

According to EMC, there have been no meetings held on the issue of drug policy reform since the May 2018 events. The Committee on Legal Issues of the Parliament has not appointed a committee hearing for a year already.

On May 12, 2019, in protest of last year’s events, activists organized a gathering in front of the Parliament of Georgia, where they opened a bust of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Giorgi Gakharia.

"On behalf of Georgian citizens, in the free city of Tbilisi, we decided to put a reminder of the conditions which were agreed a year ago at this same place," said organizer Tako Sulakvelidze.

According to another organizer Sandro Javakhishvili, the bust has a special button that you can use to hear another apology from the minister.

To commemorate the last year’s events, group of activists also started a campaign, through which they hung different banners with sarcastic messages on numerous locations in Tbilisi, saying 'No to Freedom,'; 'I won’t stand with them,'; 'Let’s start with an apology,'; etc.