Police used water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators as tensions mounted in front of the Parliament of Georgia. The confrontation started when protesters tried to push through the police cordon late on June 20.
In its late night statement, the Interior Ministry noted that the protest expressed by the participants of the rally outside the Parliament has gone beyond the legal limits of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and acquired a violent nature.
“Despite the Ministry’s calls, protesters continued their attempts to burst into the Parliament, to resist police officers and demonstrate disobedience to their legal demands. Thus, to prevent break-in into the Parliament building, prevent harm to citizens and law enforcers and reduce the threat of physical confrontation, police used the proportional means necessary for enforcement of law. Moreover, the Interior Ministry will give adequate assessment to the attempts of staging mass unrest and breaking into into the Parliament building and react to each fact of violation and crime.”
The Georgian Public Defender responded to the rally outside the Parliament and emphasized that peaceful assembly and manifestation is a fundamental human right that is protected by the Constitution of Georgia and international law.
The Public Defender reminded the protesters that violent and/or unlawful actions are unacceptable during the rally. The Public Defender hopes that the protesters will stop violent actions and peacefully continue expressing protest. It is important that police ensure safety of citizens as well as allow for holding a rally in peaceful conditions.
According to the latest update by the former health minister Davit Sergeenko, who has been appointed as PM’s Bakhtadze’s advisor, 30 civilians and 39 police officers have been injured.
More to follow…