Civil society organizations react to recent incidents in Batumi and Tsageri

On June 7 the leaders of the United National Movement Gigi Ugulava, Giorgi Baramidze, and Giga Bokeria were holding a pre-election meeting in Batumi, near Batumi Drama Theatre. The meeting was joined by a member of a former civil society organization People’s Assembly David Loria, and a former political prisoner Jemal Duadze. The two individuals urged the leaders of the UNM to speak about various facts, which happened during the rule of the UNM. The demands of the participants, directed towards Duadze and Loria, to leave the territory, led to a physical confrontation. The technical equipment of the media representatives was damaged. The meeting resumed when the clashes between the UNM and the citizens deescalated.

An investigation of the physical confrontation has begun, but the issue of deliberate infringement on the pre-election campaign has not been put forward. According to the members of the UNM, local police did not show up during the tensions.

We believe that the grounds for starting the investigation, namely  Article 125 of the Criminal Code are incorrect, because the case involves infringement on the pre-election campaign protected by Article 161 of the Criminal Code.

On June 9, the leaders of the United National Movement Gigi Ugulava and Giga Bokeria held a pre-election meeting with voters near Tsageri Culture House. The members of the Georgian Dream Coalition Lasha Kvirikashvil, a candidate for Tsageri City Council membership, Gogita Akhvlediani, independent candidate in the village named Agvi, and Ramaz Murtskvanidze who works in the local office of the Coalition in Tsageri started throwing eggs at the leaders of the UN and attacking them physically. Though patrol officers were standing nearby, they did stop the members of the Coalition.The investigation has not been launched yet.

Transparency International Georgia and the International Society for Fail Elections and Democracy (ISFED) call for:

The citizens not to engage in physical confrontations for the purpose of protesting;
The Law Enforcement Agencies to secure safe environments for conducting pre-election meetings by preventing violence, as well as by investigating facts of physical confrontations;
The political parties to notify law enforcement agencies prior to their meetings for the purpose of securing safe work environments, as well as to prevent their own party members from infringement on other political parties’ pre-election campaigns.

International Society For Fair Elections And Democracy
Transparency International Georgia