Pro-Russian Radicals Burn EU Flags in Georgia

Thursday, 21 December 2023

Pro-Russian radicals from the Alt-Info organisation have been burning European Union flags in Georgia.

According to SOVA project, earlier, Lasha Sharukhia, one of the members of the pro-Kremlin movement, had burned the largest flag of the European Union, which had been hung on the administration building in the city of Mtskheta. The court sent him to prison for 6 years.

In response, supporters and members of Alt-Info launched a protest campaign, openly burning EU flags, and filming and posting it on social media. 

The radicals are demanding the release of Sharukhia, threatening to start riots otherwise.

The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs told the opposition channel Pirveli TV that all participants in this campaign will be identified and "measures provided for by law" will be taken against them.

Alt-Info leader Koka Morgoshia said that the EU flag is "associated with immoral behaviour" and that hundreds of people have already joined the campaign "spontaneously".

"Everyone is protesting. We are expressing our solidarity. We will do everything we can to prevent people from being imprisoned because of this nonsense. People have planned and carried out this protest of their own free will, and new footage of it is spreading every minute.

It will cover the whole country, and this is to be welcomed, in my opinion. This is nonsense – how can you send a person to prison for burning a flag? At the same time, those who should be arrested are sitting in the country's parliament!" Morgoshia said.

This is not the first time radicals have burned the EU flag. In March 2023, they ripped down the EU flag outside the parliament building, tore it up and set it on fire. And in June 2022, they burned it during a protest at a Tbilisi Pride march.

Damage to EU flags hoisted outside government buildings, international organisations and countries with which Georgia has diplomatic relations is punishable by a fine of 1,000 Georgian laris, which is almost US$400 at the current exchange rate.

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