(Armenpress/PanArmenian.Net)–A group of ethnic Ajarian or Svani Georgians attacked three young Armenian men–stabbing one of them to death in Tsalka–southern Georgia.
According to A-Info news agency–which is based in the predominantly Armenian populated region of Javakhk in southern Georgia–the Armenia’s were attacked Thursday by a 15-member group in Tsalka’s busy town center.
The men were attacked after leaving a restaurant as they were getting into a car. The unidentified attackers dragged them out of the car and started beating them–some armed with heavy metal objects.
In the attack–23-year-old Gevorg Gevorkyan of the Ghushchi village was stabbed multiple times and died the scene. V. Saakyan–25–was wounded in the leg and 25-year old K. Baloyan was transported to a hospital in Tbilisi with severe injuries.
A-Info quoted the wounded Armenia’s as saying they did not know the reason they were attacked. The perpetrators escaped after the attack.
A special squad of Georgia’s interior ministry–deployed to the region to prevent inter-ethnic violence–has arrested three suspects.
Following the attack and closure of roads leading to the Armenian villages–local Armenia’s held a protest. A crowd of 300 people demonstrated outside the building of the local police department demanding a fair trial of the suspects and broke some windows.
According to Georgian parliament member Hayk Meltonyan–some 100 protesters were beaten by truncheon-wielding police officers trying to disperse the crowd.
Tsalka–population 22,000–is predominantly populated by ethnic Armenia’s and Greeks. It is located close to Javakhk.
In the early 1990s–the Georgian government moved a group of about 2,500 ethnic Georgians (mostly Ajarians and Svans) to Tsalka after a devastating landslide in their native mountainous villages.
Conflicts between Armenian and Greek communities and Georgians do periodically occur in the Tsalka area. Nevertheless–Georgian officials continuously argue that the conflicts in Tsalka have no ethnic context and represent mostly "communal violence."