Azerbaijanis, Georgians clash in Dmanisi, several injured
The situation remains tense in the city of Dmanisi (approximately 100 km away from Tbilisi, near the Georgian-Armenian border), where yesterday on May 16, a conflict erupted between local ethnic Georgians and ethnic Azerbaijanis. Additional police forces have been called up in the city.
The conflict between ethnic Azerbaijanis and eco-migrant settlers from the Svaneti region began with a dispute at one of the shops and escalated into a violent brawl between the two groups.
The footage of the fighting captured by surveillance cameras, was shared on media and online on May 16. The footage shows young people beating each other with sticks.
The conflict continued the next day. The Palitranews agency reported that several people were injured as a result of another brawl, including one policeman, and paramedics were called to the scene.
As the conflict continues, TV channels show footage of the confrontation between two different ethnic groups. Many are holding hoes, shovels, sticks, and other heavy objects in their hands while the police are trying to prevent another fight from erupting.
The mayor of Dmanisi said that the conflict between young people is but an ordinary dispute, and it would be wrong to discuss it in ethnic and religious contexts.
“You cannot turn the quarrel into an interethnic and religious one. Someone is speculating on this topic. The investigating authorities have to find out what caused the quarrel. This is sad news, something happened between them”, Giorgi Tatuashvili told Radio Liberty.
The Ministry of the Interior issued a statement regarding the incident:
“At this stage, the investigative measures carried out by the Ministry of Internal Affairs established that local residents in Dmanisi clashed with each other on domestic grounds, and the clashes later escalated into group violence”.
The statement also says that the police have already identified the persons involved in the clashes.
The Interior Ministry says that police officers have been mobilized in the region to maintain public order and “in order to prevent a recurrence of the conflict and an artificial escalation of the situation”.