This weekend’s events in Georgia are the latest in the never ending power struggle between modern governments and underground nightlife. Legendary Tbilisi based clubs Bassiani and Café Gallery were raided by armed government forces over the weekend, with over 60 people arrested including two co-owners of the Bassiani club. Support for the club and the clubbing community in Georgia came in thick and fast from some of the world’s most respected DJs and producers including FJAAK, Dax J and Kobosil and a string of protests soon followed.
Saturday morning seen thousands of ravers take to Tbilisi’s streets to protest the weekend’s extreme actions which took place after 5 drug related deaths took place in the city over two weeks despite none of them being linked to either venue.
Drug laws in the country are rather restrictive and the current stance comes after the government had recently suggested more lenient policies regarding punishments for drug users, given that random drug tests can still land people with considerable amounts of jail time in the country at the minute.
The protesters called off their demonstrations until the 19th of May after the country’s internal minister apologises for the government forces’ heavy handed actions and said that an investigation into police brutality will take place after reports surfaced that one of Bassiani’s co-owners was beaten while being arrested. The proposed drug policy is likely to be drawn up by the end of the month and implemented by June. It will see much more lenient actions as regards drug users and heavier action taken against drug dealers.
The protesters have stated that if there is no progression on the topic by the 19th of May that demonstrations there will resume once again.
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