Leading MEPs Condemn Violence Against Protesters

In a joint statement issued on May 2, leading MEPs – David McAllister, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, Marina Kaljurand, Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the South Caucasus, and Sven Mikser, the European Parliament’s standing rapporteur on Georgia – condemned the violence against peaceful protesters and opposition politicians demonstrating against the Foreign Agents law. The MEPs call on the Georgian government to “urgently de-escalate the situation and stop using force against peaceful protesters.” They also emphasize that the right to peaceful assembly is a fundamental right that must be “rigorously respected”.

Referring to their statement of April 18, the leading MEPs reiterate that the foreign agents law re-tabled by the ruling Georgian Dream party is “an attack on independent media and civil society organizations” and that, if adopted, “the law will jeopardize Georgia’s progress on the EU path.” The leading MEPs reiterate their call on the Georgian government to withdraw the draft law and instead “concentrate on their efforts on reforms necessary for the accession to the EU and NATO.”

The parliamentary majority passed the bill in second reading on May 1 and is determined to see it become law, despite strong international appeals and massive, continuous protests by citizens. The final third reading is expected to take place in mid-May.

“The Georgian people are defending freedom, democracy and European future. They do not want to be part of the Russian orbit,” the MEPs say, calling on Georgian leadership to meet the expectations of the citizens and “not to block their legitimate European aspirations.”

“We express our full solidarity with the Georgian people who are showing their indefatigable attachment to democracy, European values and to Georgia’s path towards the European Union,” the MEPs say.

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