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Tbilisi club Bassiani to reopen following enforced closure

Triumphant news as the Georgian government's investigation into the venue has been called off...

Tbilisi nightclub Bassiani will reopen soon, it has been announced.

The Georgian club had been closed for the past two weeks following armed police raids early in the morning of Saturday 12th May. Yesterday, the country’s Minister for Internal Affairs contacted the club’s owners informing them that they had permission to reopen as the government’s dubious investigation into the venue had been called off.

Bassiani’s owners Tato Getia and Zviad Gelbakhiani made the announcement yesterday via Twitter, saying “The door is open, finally we are home! Bassiani is back!”. Speaking to RA, they said that the venue was no longer being held “hostage” by authorities: "The club is back! We are more than happy, we're inside the club!"

This news comes following the announcement on Tuesday that Tbilisi’s Café-Gallery, which was also subjected to raids and subsequent closure on 12th May, had also reopened.

The raids of Bassiani and Café-Gallery venues and the subsequent investigations had allegedly been in response to numerous drug related deaths in the city linked to clubs. However, Bassiani’s owners vocally denied any links to those incidents and declared the government and police actions as being part of a right-wing “smear campaign” to see the clubs closed and the city’s culture damaged.

Enormous public outcry from the global dance music community and beyond saw “protest raves” being held in the streets and many of the world’s most prominent DJs sharing their support and solidarity. Bassiani’s owner’s, in a statement, had said “there is no doubt that the state is waging a war against the only sphere of the culture of the independent Georgia.”

Despite the triumphant news that the clubs can reopen, and knowing that the government were forced to publicly apologise for the raids, in an interview with Resident Advisor, Getia discussed how this scenario has been indicative of a dangerous governmental attitude toward the country’s club culture which will remain topical even as the venues get back up an running. “I'm in shock, I'm really in shock,” Geita told them. “In the last years, this scene is what made the country famous. And this scene is what the younger generation holds as something precious for them. Not only Georgians in Georgia, but Georgians all over the world. To do such an intentional attack on the scene is unspeakable, it's unimaginable. I really don't have words.”

In other news, earlier this week, Beirut nightclub The Gärten was shut down by government officials after videos emerged online of Acid Pauli playing verses from the Quran in the venue.