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The Daily Beat: 9 May

The Ivanishvili Regime continues its aggressive crackdown on civic activists and opposition representatives through phone intimidations, physical attacks, and arrests. On Thursday, more than a dozen activists were arrested and at least three people were beaten outside their apartments. Several other people, including the leader of Girchi-More Freedom party, Zurab Japaridze were more successful and somehow escaped the late-night ambush of “Titushiki”. The mouthpiece of Ivanishvili’s regime, Imedi TV, describes the series of arrests as – “arrest of violent protester N1, N2”, etc.

Ucha Abashidze, a prominent pro-Ukrainian military blogger and an activist against the Foreign Agents bill, was arrested by police for allegedly illegally purchasing and storing weapons and ammunition after his house was searched by a group of policemen who did not allow anyone to enter the property, including Ucha’s lawyer and family members. Lawyer, Saba Brachveli, claims that a large number of weapons displayed following the arrest by the police are in fact airsoft guns, plus legally registered firearms.  

50 local civil society organizations issuedjoint statement addressing the recent orchestrated campaign of abusive phone calls to citizens and physical attacks on activists and politicians protesting the foreign agents law, and said they would “continue to stand on the watchtower of Georgia’s European future to defend the country from Russian methods and violence.”

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Georgia to the French Republic and the Principality of Monaco, Gotcha Javakhishvili announced his resignation over the reintroduced Foreign Agents Bill. According to him, the atmosphere created between Georgia and its friends and partners due to the re-introduction of the bill made his job “extremely difficult.”

On May 9, Europe Day, European Union Ambassador to Georgia Paweł Herczyński and President Salome Zurabishvili spoke at a special Europe Day gala concert at the Rustaveli Theatre, hosted by the EU delegation and then at another event organized by President Zurabishvili for the same occasion at the Orbeliani Palace. Despite the invitation, the ruling Georgian Dream party members were conspicuously absent from both events.

Earlier in the day, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, Paweł Herczyński issued a statement in celebration of Europe Day, congratulating Georgia on its first-ever year celebrating the day as an EU Candidate Country and calling on it to “stay on the EU path” and stressing the importance of “not missing this moment.” “The doors of our union have been finally wide open! We are waiting for you,” said the Ambassador, further urging the authorities to stay on the EU path.

At a daily press briefing, U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller again expressed concern about the foreign agents law and stressed that the U.S. is “incredibly concerned” about the GD’s anti-Western rhetoric. “We think it jeopardizes their Euro-Atlantic path and quite obviously jeopardizes the relationship between our two countries,” noted spokesperson Miller.


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