A group of people released by the current government as political prisoners tried to prevent Nika Melia, the candidate for Tbilisi Mayor from the United National Movement (UNM) in the forthcoming local elections scheduled in June, from approaching the memorial to the victims of the 9 April tragedy, on the Rustaveli Avenue. The conflict started upon the appearance of Nika Melia at the memorial. Law enforcement officers got involved to diffuse the tension.
The group of people released as political prisoners maintained that Nika Melia and UNM members have no right to pay tribute to the victims of the tragedy. According to them, Melia means nothing for Tbilisi and he is an ordinary criminal.
Nika Melia himself did not understand what caused the protest of these people.
"It is a pity that several tens of people voice their protest against something that is incomprehensible for me and do so on the day on which, traditionally, the entire nation gets united and pays tribute to our citizens who fell in the fight for the freedom of our country," Nika Melia said.
On 9 April 1989, an anti-Soviet demonstration in Tbilisi was broken up by the Soviet Army, resulting in 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries. The event is known as April 9 tragedy, or Tbilisi Massacre. 9 April is now remembered as the Day of National Unity and is an annual public holiday.