Street-art in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, takes aim at police for allegedly indiscriminate use of urinanalyses to detect drug use.
Urine cups appeared in front of Georgia's main government building the other day as a remonstration against government-performed urinalyses to detect drug users. The pee-protest capped a recently invigorated push to decriminalize the use of marijuana and showcased growing frustration about what many see as the country's overly harsh narcotics laws.
Proclaiming "You Can't Find Crime in Urine," the June 9 rally was sparked when police crashed a private party in the capital, Tbilisi, and hauled off 14 people for drug tests. Street art also appeared around the city, with one graphic portraying policemen offering a test cup to a line of characters ranging from Manneken Pis, Brussels' landmark peeing boy statue, to Star War’s Yoda.
One widely distributed Facebook photo goes a step further and shows the Brussels boy taking aim at the Georgian interior ministry.
But the police maintain they were within their rights. They say they'd arrived on the scene after neighbors complained about the party.
Prison sentences, some Georgian and international activists argue, only serve to push drug-users closer to the criminal world, and should be reduced.
But Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili takes a different view. While discussions about changing punishments for drug use are possible, decriminalisation of marijuana will not happen on his watch, he announced on June 4, Netgazeti.ge reported.
Speaking of the need for the government to care for the interests of future generations of Georgians, Gharibashvili argued that marijuana is the first step in a slippery slide that can end in "pills, heroin and . . bionarcotics."
Allowing Georgia to take that first step by legalizing marijuana is, therefore, "excluded," he concluded.