EU “Strongly Condemns” Assaults against Protesters, Politicians, CSOs, Media

EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy lead Spokesperson Peter Stano “strongly” condemned “acts of intimidation, threats and physical assaults” against anti-Foreign Agents Bill protesters, media, politicians and CSOs, saying “these are brutal actions and these brutal actions we’ve seen also in the night from yesterday to today.”

“What we have seen over the last few days in Georgia in terms of response from the authorities, especially from the police, was violence,” Stano said at the press conference on May 13, answering a question regarding the ongoing developments in Georgia.

He called on the government to ensure the people’s right to protest, and urged the authorities to investigate all the possible misconduct and violations. “We expect that those responsible for it will be brought to justice.”

In response to the MEPs request to High Representative Josep Borrell to prepare “targeted sanctions against those in Georgia who are steering the country away from its European future,” Stano said “the sanctions are not something for HR/VP to decide. The sanctions are decided by member states when they find a consensus that nothing else will bring the desired results. We are not there yet. Georgia, after all, is a candidate country.” According to him, a number of the EU member states “spoke out very clearly and very loudly about what they think about the situation, especially linked to this latest law on the foreign interference and so-called transparency.”

He also noted: “We hope, we expect and we call on authorities to go back to the European path and deliver on all the commitments they took upon themselves voluntarily when they applied for the candidate status for their country.”

During his press conference, Stano highlighted that “what we are seeing in Georgia is really impressive commitment and desire by the vast majority of the Georgian population for the EU future and for the EU path of their country,” expressing the EU expectation for the Georgian government “to mirror this desire and this attachment of their people to democracy and to European values which we share.”

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