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Parliament, Government Sessions Held amid Protests

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The today’s sessions of the Parliament and the government were opened amid protests by civil rights activists and opposition parties.

Protesters gathered outside the Parliament and government buildings in the morning on November 28, trying to block their entrances, but failed to do so due to high police mobilization.

Unlike the previous days, today the Interior Ministry used iron barriers to block the streets leading to the Parliament and government buildings and deployed police cordon across the barriers.

For two weeks already, civil rights activists and opposition parties are protesting against the Parliament’s downvoting the constitutional amendment on transition to fully proportional electoral system from 2020. Despite protests, the ruling party claims that the electoral system will not be revised and that the 2020 parliamentary elections will be held through the mixed electoral system.

Vazha Siradze, director of Patrol Police Department, told reporters that police decided to erect barriers “to ensure public order and free movement of lawmakers” after organizers announced about their plans to block the entrances of Parliament building.

Commenting on the issue, Georgian Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri said that police officers will be mobilized until it is necessary to protect all citizens, including protesters.

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said before today’s government session that “all these destructive actions by irresponsible politicians” aim at “blocking the state.” He called on government members to double their attention and concentration to ensure effective functioning of state institutions.

“Our responsibility is not to allow anyone, despite their numerous destructive actions and attempts to block the state, target our bureaucracy with destructive actions. Our bureaucracy, our public officials, must be absolutely effective, and be even more focused on taking care of the everyday lives and daily problems of our citizens,” PM Gakharia said.

The opposition slammed the government for high police mobilization and erecting iron constructions. Zaal Udumashvili of the United National Movement said that “Ivanishvili distances himself from his own people with iron barriers” and it symbolizes that “Ivanishvili stands on the one side and people – on the other.”

MP Giga Bokeria of European Georgia noted that they will constantly create problems to Ivanishvili’s “shameful team” and that their protest will continue until “they behave so impudently.”

Despite police resistance, the protesters managed to approach the Parliament building, chanting “slave” and “it’s a shame” at Georgian Dream lawmakers entering the legislature.

Reportedly, the protesters again plan to block the Parliament building on November 29. They will gather outside the Parliament at 10 am.

Police erected iron barriers in central Tbilisi’s Ingorokva street too nearby Parliament and Government buildings on November 28. Photo courtesy: Tamar Kuratishvili

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

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