‘Group of persons’ preparing mass riots in Georgia, says Tbilisi

Georgia’s State Security Service said Monday that mass riots are being prepared in the country aimed at overthrowing the government. 

In a statement on its website, the security service said the rebellion may start in October-December, using the pretext of the European Commission granting Georgia EU candidacy status.

“According to information received as a result of an investigation, a certain group of persons operating on the territory of Georgia and abroad this October-December plans to organize destabilization and mass riots in Georgia, with the ultimate goal of overthrowing the government by force,” it said.

The service identified former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili and Georgy Lordkipanidze, current deputy head of military intelligence, as “authors of the plan.”

In August Prime Minister Irakli Garibachvili said he expects the EU to grant Georgia candidacy status by the end of the year, stressing that a negative response would send a positive message to Russia.

According to the security service, the organizers of the riots are planning several scenarios, including erecting barricades in the center of the capital Tbilisi and the blocking of government buildings.

“According to confirmed information, the organizers are considering the possibility of implementing a scenario in Georgia similar to the Euromaidan that took place in Ukraine,” the State Security Service said, referring to protests in 2013 over Kyiv prioritizing ties with Russia over those with the European Union.

The protests led to a sudden change in government in early 2014, and were followed by Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula that February – a move seen as some as a precursor to the current war.

Russia remains opposed to stronger Georgian ties with the West. The two countries have not had diplomatic ties since mid-2008, when Russia recognized as independent two breakaway regions internationally recognized as Georgian territory.

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