Several dozen protestors gathered in front of Tbilisi’s Rustaveli Metro Station on 4 June to support the ongoing demonstrations in the United States against racism and police brutality.
The protest was composed of demonstrators from Georgia and around the world, including several Americans living in Georgia. They held signs declaring that ‘Black Lives Matter’ and calling for an end to police violence and repression.
Demonstrations erupted in hundreds of cities throughout the United States in response to the killing of George Floyd, a Black American, by an officer from the Minneapolis Police Department.
A video of the incident showed the officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over 8 minutes while several other officers stood by and watched.
It is only the latest in a long series of killings of unarmed Black men and boys by police in the United States. The disproportionate violence against the Black community led to the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014.
During the nationwide demonstrations that followed the killing, violent clashes erupted between demonstrators and police.
In videos uploaded to social media, police were repeatedly shown attacking peaceful protestors as well as journalists covering the demonstrations.
Widespread instances of property destruction and looting have also been documented.
US President Donald Trump has said that Antifa (a contraction of ‘anti-fascist’) have been responsible for the violence and has threatened to declare them a terrorist organisation. Despite the threat, the United States does not have a domestic terrorism law and Antifa is not a unified or formal structure.
Self-described Antifa activists first came to prominence in the US media landscape when they clashed with neo-nazi demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia 2017.
The response of US authorities has been met with condemnation around the world with solidarity rallies taking place in dozens of countries.
International organisations have also condemned the harsh police response with Amnesty International USA head Rachel Ward stating that American police were ‘failing their obligations under international law’.
A handful of counter-protestors were also present in Tbilisi. One of the counter-protestors told assembled reporters that he was there because the protest was ‘anti-white’ and supported ‘terrorism’.