Transparency International (TI) Georgia, a local watchdog, said today that the recent measures taken by the authorities in Rioni River valley “show they aim to suppress” anti-Namakhvani HPP protests by using police force.
The watchdog slammed the Interior Ministry for citing “unconvincing, inconsistent, and unsubstantiated” reasons for removing protesters’ tents from the valley. TI Georgia pointed out that while the Ministry officially justified the tent removal was necessary because of a flooding alert, it told the activists that the tents were obstructing search operations for a young man who disappeared in the Rioni River two days ago.
The civil society organization also took note of previous developments, including reports of discrediting campaigns against the anti-HPP activists and the “groundless” restrictions on movement in the valley.
The Government resorted to solving the issue by using “repressive police force,” instead of responding to local concerns with the dialogue,” the watchdog asserted. “With such measures, the state furthers distrust in law enforcement agencies and damages their reputation in the public eye,” it added.
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