Restaurant brawl reflects political tension in Georgia

A brawl in a Georgian restaurant put two members of parliament in hospital and exposed the tension between rival political factions

Restaurant brawl reflects political tension in Georgia

World Bulletin/News Desk

A brawl in a Georgian restaurant put two members of parliament in hospital on Sunday and exposed the tension between rival political factions since an election drove President Mikheil Saakashvili's party from power last year.

An argument between patrons of La Truffe, an upscale restaurant and club frequented by Saakashvili and his allies in the capital, Tbilisi, flared into a fight that lasted 10-15 minutes, police in the South Caucasus nation said.

Georgy Vashadze, David Sakvarelidze, lawmakers from Saakashvili's United National Movement, were hospitalised along with former Agriculture Minister Zaza Gorozia after the fight, which broke out around midnight on Saturday.

The injuries were not life-threatening and all three were released later on Sunday.

Western governments watch for instability in the ex-Soviet republic of 4.5 million, a conduit for pipelines pumping Caspian Sea energy westward and a platform for rivalry between the United States and Russia, which fought a five-day war with Georgia in 2008.

The United States and European Union praised Georgia for avoiding violence after an opposition coalition led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili defeated the long-dominant United National Movement in a parliamentary vote last October.

But tension remains high between the camps of Ivanishvili, now prime minister, and Saakashvili, who was first elected in 2004 and is barred from running in a presidential election this autumn due to term limits.

Saakashvili said the restaurant fight was the consequence of a "syndrome of impunity" he suggested was encouraged by Ivanishvili's government, and he criticised a large-scale prisoner amnesty that has been a bone of contention in recent months.

"To make a career in Georgia today it is enough for someone to get himself into prison, get out through an amnesty, and then one can attack any politician unfavourable to the government, give him a good beating, and you have the prospect of a good job," he told journalists in the Black Sea port city of Poti.

Last Mod: 12 Mayıs 2013, 22:23
Add Comment