ISFED condemns recent acts of political violence and confrontation in Gurjaani Municipality

On April 20, 2015, over 100 activists of the Georgian Dream residing in Gurjaani Municipality invaded office of Gurjaani Majoritarian MP Giorgi Ghviniashvili together with employees of Sakrebulo and Gamgeoba, and demanded that he leave the building. The confrontation in the office of Gurjaani Majoritarian MP Giorgi Ghviniashvili occurred following the announcement of the United National Movement about establishment of the commission on April 20. 

The confrontation continued on April 21, when activists of the Georgian Dream posted insulting calls on door of the Majoritarian MP’s bureau, and Manager of FC Alazani Mikheil Purtseladze cursed at MPs Levan Bezhashvili and Giorgi Ghviniashvili. 

PM Irakli Gharibashvili released a statement about the developments in Gurjaani, saying that actions of Gurjaani population against the UNM were fair and adequate, which further aggravated the situation. 

Confrontation between activists of the Georgian Dream and the UNM continued in the next few days. On April 22, Giorgi Ghviniashvili, Irma Nadirashvili and their accompanying individuals were met by public service employees of Sakrebulo and Gamgeoba, as well as activists of the Georgian Dream, when they arrived at Gamgeoba. It eventually led to violent actions, and UNM’s representatives were pelted with eggs and physically assaulted. 
Law enforcement officers, who were inadequately mobilized at the scene, failed to prevent 
the confrontation. 

Footage released by media clearly shows that public service employees, head of the property management service Davit Nikolaishvili, Gamgebeli advisor Archil Gogiashvili, specialist of Gamgeoba Social Services Manana Janjibukhashvili were directly involved in the confrontation. Gurjaani Gamgebeli Givi Gergidze and his deputies Elguja Giorgadze and Dimitri Kalatozishvili, Chairman of Sakrebulo Vano Berdzenishvili and his deputy Zviad Kviralashvili were all present at the scene. 

We believe that it is important for that representative of different political groups are able to express their critical views; however, we condemn violent forms of freedom of expression that violates rights and freedoms of other individuals. 

For putting an end to the existing confrontation and investigating the situation, we urge:

The authorities and political officials to refrain from making statements that will aggregate the confrontation, and to demonstrate more effort for protecting rights of citizens;

The law enforcement authorities to launch a probe into the acts of confrontation in Gurjaani Municipality Gamgeoba and take timely further legal actions. 

The political parties to refrain from violent actions and urge their members and activists to abandon forms of expression of protest that violates law and order. 

This project is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of ISFED and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.