Protesters Gather Outside Tbilisi TV Studio After Presenter Insults Putin

Crowds gathered outside Georgian television channel Rustavi-2 in Tbilisi late on July 7 to protest against an obscenity-laden tirade by presenter Giorgi Gabunia in which he insulted Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Gabunia called Putin a “stinking occupier,” according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. His comments followed weeks of protests in Tbilisi, provoked by a visiting Russian lawmaker’s appearance in the Georgian parliament.

Gabunia’s comments were condemned by Georgian leaders, with Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze describing them as “a disgusting act of provocation” and President Salome Zurabishvili saying that his comments “serve only to divide and raise tensions in the country, with Russia and in the region.”

Rustavi-2 suspended broadcasts for several hours, RFE said, citing the station’s director general, Nika Gvaramia, who said several of its journalists were attacked. Credit: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty via Storyful