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Many injured as riot police disperse protest outside Parliament in Georgia
2019-06-21 11:42:26

Riot police in Tbilisi fired rubber bullets and used teargas against thousands of protesters outside the Georgian Parliament on June 20, 2019, the Human Rights Watch reports.

Fifty-two people, including 38 police officers, were injured in protests on Thursday, the press service of the Georgian Health Ministry said.

The protests were sparked by the presence of a Russian delegation, including MP Sergey Gavrilov, at an Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy in Tbilisi.

The delegation was part of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy(IAO) held in Georgia.

The protesters demanded the resignation of the Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia, the parliament speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze, and Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze.

According to HRW, the tensions increased around 10 p.m. Some protesters broke through the first police cordon separating protesters from the parliament building, and the riot police pushed them back.

Around midnight the riot police opened fire on the crowd with teargas and rubber bullets. The Interior Ministry issued a statement later, saying that the crowd had gone “beyond freedom of expression and peaceful assembly” and had “turned into violence… Despite the requests of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the [protesters] continuously attempted to break into the Parliament” and resisted police.

The Armenian delegation walked out of the sitting hall yesterday after Georgian opposition MPs from the Georgian Dream faction interrupted the 26th Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) after a Russian MP and president of the assembly, Sergey Gavrilov addressed the audience from the Georgian parliamentary speaker’s chair.

“The whole Armenian delegation walked out of the hall because the conflict was between our ally on one hand and a brotherly nation on the other hand.  We were between two fires and decided to stay away of the incident,” head of the Armenian delegation Alen Simonyan said.

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