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Riot Police Clears Parliament Entrances, Protest Continues

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Police in riot gear have moved in around 5:00 to clear the Georgian Parliament entrances from behind the building and at the side streets from protesters, using water cannons. The Parliament session is scheduled to take place today at 12:00.

The Ministry of Interior reports 28 were arrested for resisting police. Three protesters are reported injured.

During the night, the police were preventing the protesters from lighting barrel-fires to resist sub-zero temperatures, an action that was deemed as obstructing the freedom of assembly by the Public Defender Nino Lomjaria.

Giga Bokeria, MP from the opposition European Georgia said the police are “fulfilling illegal orders”, and added that “everything that is happening here [during the protests] is a part of pressure we are making on these shameful clowns [in the parliament], they won’t get a normal life, they will have to walk under permanent riot police protection, they can not take that, and they will crumble.”

Some protesters remain on a sidewalk in front of the Parliament building. Rustaveli Avenue, the main thoroughfare of Tbilisi, has been cleared for traffic.

The opposition activists have marched towards the Parliament at 19:00 yesterday and blocked the legislative building entrances later around 22:00. Opposition leaders said they planned to block the Georgian Dream MPs from entering the session today.

The protests have erupted after GD MPs failed to honor their promise and back the bill that would have allowed for the Parliamentary elections be held through fully proportional system in 2020. Opposition now demand the Parliament to agree on a compromise – so called “German Model”, but GD Secretary General Kakha Kaladze said yesterday the “discussion was closed”.

The current, mixed system is widely seen as giving unfair advantage to the ruling party, since it captures all majoritarian (single-mandate) seats if it wins the proportional polls.

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

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