PACE recognizes legitimacy of dispersal of protesters in Tbilisi, concerned about reports of excessive use of force
Georgia, Tbilisi, May 28/ Trend, N.Kirtskhalia /
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) co-rapporteurs for Georgia do not put into question the apparent legitimate basis for the authorities' decision to disperse the protesters, given the fact that the Independence Day celebrations were planned on Rustavelli Avenue and that the protesters reportedly refused to relocate to an alternative location offered by the municipal authorities, Council of Europe representation in Georgia said in its statement.
At the same time PACE rapporteurs are concerned about reports of excessive use of force in Tbilisi protest breakup. "We are concerned about the reports of excessive and disproportionate use of force by the police. The authorities should fully, credibly and transparently investigate these reports and present their findings to the public within a reasonable timeframe," the statement says.
In the meanwhile rapporteurs call upon all sides to remain calm and not to further escalate the tense situation.
Riot police dispersed the protesters participating in the rally of the People's Assembly on the Rustaveli Avenue on May 26 using tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and batons. Rally organizers have been repeatedly warned that the deadline for the application, submitted by them to hold actions, expires at midnight, but they ignored the City Hall representatives' request to leave the Rustaveli Avenue and relocate to an alternative location. As a result of dispersal two people died and about 39 injured as a result of running-down accident during the riots and were hospitalized.