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Georgian Opposition, Activists Keep Blocking Parliament Entrances

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Night of protest outside Georgian Parliament had been peaceful and quiet. Dozens of activists and opposition supporters remained around Georgian legislative building all night.

Protesters keep blocking all three entrances of the building. Opposition leaders, their supporters and civic activists erected tents outside the entrances and placed sandbags and barricades yesterday evening. This morning, demonstrators tried to prevent ruling Georgian Dream party MPs from entering the Parliament, calling them “slaves!”

Some of the opposition leaders who are present outside the Parliament since morning, criticized Georgian Dream MPs rushing to enter Parliament for their failure to pass the promised electoral law.  

On November 17, two parallel rallies were held in downtown Tbilisi, both demanding fully proportional snap elections. The protest led by united opposition and civic activists gathered outside the parliament building, while another, smaller scale rally with similar demands, led by Alliance of Patriots was held few hundred meters away, with the party leader Irma Inashvili saying she would not mix with another rally attended by ex-President Saakashvili’s United National Movement.

Georgians hit the streets again since Thursday, as the ruling party backtracked on its key promise to Tbilisi Protests of June 2019 on transition to fully proportional electoral system from 2020, instead of 2024. Three fourths of sitting lawmakers’ support (113 of 150) was needed for the amendment to pass. While all of 44 MPs of opposition parties supported the bill, Georgian Dream’s three lawmakers voted against the amendment and 37 abstained, making the bill fall short of the quorum with 12 votes.

Yesterday, the protesters outside the parliament voiced their key demands:

  • Snap parliamentary elections with fully proportional system;
  • Resignation of the government; Provisional government to hold snap elections;
  • Release of protesters involved in June 20-21 events;
  • New composition of the Central Election Commission.

In their joint midnight statement, the European Union Delegation to Georgia and the U.S. Embassy to Tbilisi noted that “in view of the current situation, we consider it essential to immediately work to restore trust through a calm and respectful dialogue between the government and all political parties and civil society with a view to finding an acceptable path forward.”

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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