Baton-wielding police violently dispersed dozens of opposition protesters in the Georgian capital on Monday, witnesses said, as tensions flared after weeks of anti-government demonstrations.
Witnesses, including an AFP photographer, said dozens of police descended on the protesters when they gathered outside a police detention centre where clashes between police and the opposition had broken out last month.
“We came here to hold a peaceful rally. When we arrived and started the protest the police immediately started to crack down, beating people with batons and sticks,” one of the protesters, 22-year-old Levan Soselia, told AFP.
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“People were running to escape and the police were chasing us and beating us,” he said.
An AFP photographer said both uniformed police and men in civilian clothes were hitting protesters with batons and that several people had been injured.
Police seized cameras and other equipment from photographers attempting to cover the incident. At least one photographer was badly beaten.