Ombudsman Urges MIA to Follow “International Standards” in Case of Crackdown

On April 16, the Public Defender’s Office called on the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia to ensure “protection of all citizens’ freedom of expression and assembly in a safe environment” and “to adhere to the relevant international standards” in case it uses force against the demonstrators at the ongoing rally against the reintroduced Foreign Agents Law.

“The Public Defender of Georgia emphasizes once again that interference with the freedom of assembly is permissible only if an action takes a violent and/or illegal nature, at the same time the use of force must meet the strict test of necessity and proportionality,” the Public Defender stated.

At the ongoing demonstration, the riot police used pepper spray without warning and deliberately aimed at the demonstrators’ faces, similar to last year’s practice during March protests. The ambulances are rendering first aid to the injured who have trouble breathing and seeing. The riot police also detained 11 demonstrators according to MIA April 16 late evening statement.

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