Dozens of opposition political parties on Sunday took part in a mass rally in Tbilisi on Rustaveli Avenue outside the Parliament building for the extraordinary proportional elections. At the rally the leaders of the “United national movement” and “European Georgia – the Movement for freedom” has decided to picket all the entrances to Parliament to hinder the work of MPs.
The opposition has declared that they will open the door after the deputies meet in the Parliament for the appointment of early elections and changes in legislation that will ensure their implementation according to the proportional system.
As writes “the New newspaper”, the evening of November 17 protesters brought firewood and set up tents. Volunteers handed out free cakes, hot coffee and tea. After a brief skirmish with the police to the campground broke cars with wood and sandbags, and in the evening in the iron barrels lit a fire for heating.
Some protesters erected barricades from bags of rubbish and sand at the rear entrance of the legislature on the streets April 9 and Chichinadze. This was reported by the Georgian TV company Imedi, which is quoted by TASS. “Brought it here in order to show the situation in which the city is located. It is a plan of action for the victory of non-violent, peaceful way. This debris, left in the centre of the city”, – told reporters the leader of the “New Georgia”, former Deputy Minister of justice of Georgia Giorgi Vashadze.
He noted that some of these bags they need to reinforce tents, which they pitched at all the entrances to the Parliament with the purpose of picketing, and the remaining bags are used as seats. Bring bags, filled with sand, – the idea of leaders of opposition parties “European Georgia – the freedom Movement” Gigi Ugulava and Giga Beaucaire. They said the police officers who initially would not let them carry bags that they are used only to strengthen the tents.
In addition, barricades of sandbags and remnants of building materials was arranged on the streets Chitadze, the covered and Chichinadze, at the entrances to Parliament, and from the street Chichinadze gate locked. Throughout the Parliament there are law enforcement authorities, limited vehicular traffic.
“This building is dead,” said the former mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava, speaking to the staff of the Ministry of internal Affairs of Georgia. “There is a moral crisis. Bidzina must go”, – quotes its opposition channel Rustavi 2.
“We will not leave and will continue to block the Parliament, it lost its function. This night will show what we’re capable of,” said another opposition leader Grigol Vashadze, the former main rival of the current President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili in the elections of 2018. She Zurabishvili urged the opposition not to destabilize the situation in the country and acknowledged that “regrets” about the decision of the Parliament not to pass the bill, which is supported by the society.
Police on 17 November issued a special statement, saying that will “ensure the security and freedom of expression of citizens in meetings and demonstrations”, but warned of the need to comply with the law. “Any violations, and attempts of storm buildings or interference with the work of the police will be immediately prevented,” said MIA.
Politicians, supporters of political parties and of the citizens spent the night in front of the Parliament of Georgia. According to the portal “Georgia Online”, throughout the night in the territory was quiet. There have been several minor incidents that were quickly stopped by police. So, the Central office of “Georgian dream” between members of the movement “Change” and the police scuffle because of the intention of the protesters to make the inscription “Change” and “Go away” on the pavement in front of the party office. Despite the opposition, the protesters still managed to write these words. In addition, they made an inscription “the System must be destroyed.”
Vice-speaker of the Parliament, the leader of the opposition party “Alliance of Georgian patriots” Irma Inashvili stated that the protests will be permanent and will be held in all major cities of the country, reports TASS.
“We, “Alliance of patriots of Georgia”, not fighting for chairs. Our main objective is to save the elections of 2020 against usurpation. “Georgian dream” has committed political suicide, was admitted shameful, something not worthy for the Georgian people. These actions will continue in all the major cities of Georgia. People come to all square. Works emergency headquarters. These actions will not stop until the “Georgian dream” does not fulfill his promise, and we do not pass to the proportional system of elections,” said Inashvili.
The U.S. Embassy and the EU delegation in Georgia has called on the authorities and the opposition to find a common path to exit the crisis. As stated in a joint statement published on the website of the representative office, a peaceful and mutually respectful dialogue. “We fully support the right of peaceful demonstrators and freedom of expression of words. We urge everyone who does this right to act within the law and the Constitution,” – said in a statement.
Director of patrol police Department of MIA of Georgia Vaja Siradze told reporters that the protest near the Parliament in Tbilisi was attended by 5.5 thousand people, RIA “Novosti”. Another 1.5 thousand people took part in the individual stocks of the opposition party “Alliance of patriots”. According to Reuters, the action was attended by about 20 thousand people.
The reason for the wave of protests in Tbilisi was the failure of a vote in Parliament on November 14 about the holding of the parliamentary elections in 2020 according to the proportional system. It was necessary to amend the Constitution of Georgia, which requires the support of 113 MPs out of 150. The vote change was supported by only 101 members. Mostly abstained from voting the deputies-odnomandatniki from the ruling party “Georgian dream – Democratic Georgia”.
The protesters blamed the incident to the Chairman of the ruling party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, that he announced in June the transition from a mixed to a proportional system of elections. The holding of parliamentary elections under the proportional system was one of the demands of protesters who for three months have staged demonstrations outside the Parliament building in Tbilisi.
Under the current version of the Constitution of Georgia, the parliamentary elections planned for October 2020, to be held at the traditional mixed system – 77 deputies are elected on proportional lists, and 73 in majority. It is noteworthy that in the 2024 elections will be held on a fully proportional system, only with the difference that the electoral threshold will be 5%.