MIA Warns Participants of Two Rallies

The demonstration against Tbilisi Pride is being held in front of the Parliament building on Rustaveli Avenue. Simultaneously, yet another protest rally against Russian occupation is scheduled at Pushkin Square (located close to the Rustaveli Avenue) at 19:00 today.

The participants of the anti-occupation rally will gather at Pushkin Square at 19:00 today, from where they will arrange the march to the Parliament building. Their main demand remains unchanged: resignation of Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia. The protestors believe that Gakharia is responsible for the raid of the rallies in front of the Parliament on June 20-21.

According to one of the organizers of anti-occupation rallies, Giga Makarashvili, the participants of the demonstration being held against Tbilisi Pride deprive them of the location and time of the rally scheduled by them.

“They deprive us of our rally, its time and location, the MIA is obliged to defend the freedom of expression”, he said.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia released the statement, warning the participants of both demonstrations not to take violent actions and not to violate the public order.

According to the statement, the Ministry will respond to the violations of the law by the protestors with relevant measures.

“As it is known to the public, the protest rally is underway on Rustaveli Avenue. Simultaneously, the anti-occupation demonstration has been scheduled at Pushkin Square at 19:00 today.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs is responsible for protecting public order and security at every location of the rallies. The Ministry will respond to the violations of the law by participants. We call on the protesters not to go beyond the limits of the freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. In addition, we warn the organizers of both rallies not to make statements containing violence and ensure that the actions will not become violent in character.

Each fact of the violation of the law will be immediately prevented by the police," the statement reads.

The event of Tbilisi Pride, so-called March of Dignity, which was scheduled to take place earlier today, has been canceled “due to lack of safety”, in Georgia’s capital, as the organizers stated.

Despite the fact that the March of Dignity was canceled, its opponents - clerics, nationalist groups and their supporters still gathered at several locations in Tbilisi today to prevent the march from taking place.

Previously, the Tbilisi Pride's March of Dignity announced for June 22 was postponed due to the June 20 rally in Tbilisi. According to the organizers of Tbilisi Pride, they, as citizens of Georgia, expressed solidarity to the citizens’ “fair protest against the Russian occupation and shameful visit of the Russian MP to Georgia” in this form.

Opponent clergymen of "Tbilisi Pride" arranged a procession from Republic Square to the Parliament of Georgia in the morning. Their main demand was for the government to prevent Tbilisi Pride events from happening.

Georgian businessman Levan Vasadze, known for his conservative views, joined the rally in front of the Parliament building together with his supporters and representatives of the political organization and social movement “Georgian March”. According to them, "they will never allow such events to be held in Georgia".

By Ana Dumbadze 

08 July 2019 17:53