Georgian ultranationalists form national patrol
The Georgian ultranationalist organization ‘Georgian March’ has come up with a new idea to create a ‘People’s Patrol’ which will monitor the actions of foreign migrants in Georgia.
The members of the patrol will be divided into squads of 15 people, who will walk along the streets of Tbilisi. If they come across a ‘suspicious’ individual, they will detain the individual on the spot and then call the police.
In this way the organisation hopes to help the Ministry of Internal Affairs because the state, in their words, ‘is unable to prevent foreign criminals and terrorists from entering the country’.
When asked what does, in the patrol’s view, the ‘violation of public order’ mean, one of the Georgian March leaders stated ‘all actions which break the law’.
“Trafficking, disreputable institutions where drugs are sold, and the enticing of underage individuals into prostitution … all of this takes place on the streets,” said Sandro Bregadze, Deputy Minister for Diaspora Issues from 2014 to 2016, in an interview with Liberali.
Bregadze says that 300 young people have already expressed interest in joining the national patrol.
The members of Georgian March says that the national patrol will wear a special uniform that will be fitted with video-cameras. The originators of the idea say that the patrol will begin its activities in a month and will, at first, patrol the central streets of Tbilisi – Marjanishvili, Leselidze and Republic Square. These are districts where there are many tourists.
The first statement concerning the creation of the national patrol was published on the organisation’s Facebook page. The statement says that the main aim of the initiative is to monitor activities that may violate public order by ‘foreign illegals, criminals and terrorists’. The statement says that the patrol will be comprised of ‘young people with national consciousness’.
A video accompanied the statement, featuring calls for violence and depicting group fights.
Judging by the comments on the post, many in Georgia sympathise with Georgian March’s ideas.
“Very good! It has long been time to do away with loitering. The nation itself must control what happens in Georgia. How many migrants … sell drugs, open brothels in Georgia, and the government is profiting from this!”
“Very good. In our country, only Georgians are punished, regardless of how right they are. Georgians are feeling the pressure – they are being beaten and humiliated on their own land and in their own country.”
However, the majority of society believes that the authorities should not allow the organisation which constantly makes xenophobic and homophobic statements, to engage in such illegal activities.
“I hope that the country’s authorities will be able to stop this nightmare [before it starts].”
“If you didn’t know what the Black Hundreds were [ultra-nationalist group in the early 20th century Russia], then you’ll find out now. If the authorities allow the creation of an official terrorist organisation, they will have to renounce their right to state-hood.”
For now, the authorities remain silent.
• Georgian March is an association that propagates xenophobic and homophobic ideas. It leads protests in Tbilisi and other cities of Georgia. In the fall of last year, they held a protest march in David Aghmashenebeli prospect in Tbilisi in which they demanded stricter immigration legislation and the deportation of illegal and criminal foreigners from Georgia.
• Members of the organisation also held a protest demonstration in front of the Georgian Football Federation where they burnt a LGBT rainbow-coloured flag. They demanded that Guram Kashia be expelled from the national football team after he went out onto the field with an armband of the same colours. During one of their protests which took place in front of the Rustavi 2 television company’s building, the march participants threw live chickens at the company’s building.