TSU Student Protest Enters Day 10 as Situation Remains Tense

Tbilisi - A major building for Tbilisi State University (TSU) has been occupied and split by two opposite group of students, the studying process has been interrupted and situation remains tense.

A group of the University’s Self Government students demand the resignation of TSU rector Lado Papava, who refuses to fulfil their request, and another group of protesters called Auditorium 115 (according to the number of lecture hall they are based in) are asking reforms inside the self-government system and also want an investigation into the presence of intelligence agents at TSU.

The protestors demand that TSU’s authorities, as well as the rector, be held accountable for the student government’s actions and a cap be put in place on all future expenditures made by the university’s elected bodies.

On Tuesday, TSU self-government members have rushed into Papava’s cabinet and occupied it. President of the self-government Shalva Sabauri has announced that if the rector does not manage to control the situation they will not allow him to enter the cabinet. After negotiations behind closed doors, self-government students left the cabinet.

However, at the next meeting, the president of University’s self-government said he was going on hunger strike until the rector resigns.

Three professors at TSU have launched hunger-strikes near rector’s cabinet saying they will be on strike until the TSU returns to usual rhythm of life and self-government members leave the cabinet, who are ruled by external forces

Today, Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced that he is closely following the developing processes in Tbilisi State University. He said that the university, as well as the education system in Georgia, needs fundamental reforms. Kvirikashvili asked both sides to solve the problem through dialogue and to find a peaceful way.

Today, Georgia’s Education Minister Tamar Sanikidze said that she is not going to get involved in solving inner problems at the university, as it is responsibility of University’s Academician Council and it is necessary to create a working atmosphere for solving the dispute.

The university’s Academician Council has requested a reasonable time to discuss the matter of rector’s resignation or solution of the problem.

Protests originally broke out on March 7th, several hundred attendees at Georgia’s top university have launched rallying against the institute’s alleged corrupt spending policies, including the provision of funds to privileged student government members.

By Tamar Svanidze

Editing by Chloe Diamond

Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/DFWatch

16 March 2016 18:49