Public Defender: Use of Force Against Peaceful Protesters Disproportionate

As the night of protests continues, Public Defender of Georgia levan Ioseliai has made a statement in the early hours of May 1, regarding the use of special means to disperse peaceful protesters on Rustaveli Ave. qualifying the use of force against the demonstrators by the law-enforcers as disproportionate.

The Public Defender stresses that the freedom of peaceful assembly is protected by the Constitution of Georgia. He also stresses that acts of verbal or physical aggression or violence by individuals or a small group of individuals during the demonstration cannot be used to restrict the freedom of assembly of people who continue to behave peacefully. “In such cases, any intervention should be aimed at responding to the violent actions of specific individuals, and not at dispersing the entire assembly”- the statement notes.

The Public Defender says that at the time of the warning issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia on 30 April 2024, at 23:36, and at the time of issuing the statement, the rally “had a peaceful character and there was no reason to stop it and use force against it”.

The statement says that “the law enforcement authorities started to use special means against the participants of the rally, including the peaceful demonstrators, which contradicts the standard of necessary and proportionate interference with the right.”

The Public Defender calls on the investigative bodies to conduct an effective investigation into the facts of the use of disproportionate force and the injury of media representatives.

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