23rd day of Anti-occupation rally, Interior Minister does plan to resign
12 July, 2019
23rd day of Anti-occupation rally, Interior Minister does plan to resign
Georgian Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia said that the dispersal of a rally near the parliament on June 20 was a legitimate measure without alternatives, since protesters were going to storm the parliament. In an hour and a half interview with TV Pirveli, Gakharia said that he doesn’t plan on resigning. He added that his mistake was that he gave the order to use heavy equipment too late.

When asked whether he issued all the orders on
the night of June 20, the minister said that he “issued the order”.

"I issued the order, especially after the protest got violent. I acted within the constitution and the legislation of Georgia. The main responsibility of the police and the Ministry of Internal Affairs is to protect the institutions and public order in the country," said Giorgi Gakharia.

As for the orange bullets used during the dispersal of the rally, the Minister said that the police has the right to use such bullets.

"This orange bullet is not lethal and it can be legally used all over the world, including in Georgia," said Gakharia.

23rd day of Anti-occupation rally

On June 20, civic society together with different opposition members took to the streets after seeing the Russian MP in the Georgian Parliament speaker’s chair. Russian MP Sergei Gavrilov, who was forced to leave Georgia following anger, was leading the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy in the Russian language. The demonstrators, angered by the presence of Mr.Gavrilov, gathered in front of the Parliament building to protest Russian military occupation of Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

It was said that some of the demonstrators, encouraged by an opposition member, tried to storm the parliament building. In order to prevent the protesters from entering the building, riot police used teargas, rubber bullets (used for animal control) and water cannon. Some protestors got heavily injured including journalists, two people lost their eyes and a group of people was detained as well. The police were running a number of protestors down to different locations till the dawn. Next day, the speaker of the Georgian Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze resigned.
june 20-21
Next day on June 21, the demonstration was resumed, protesters with banners saying “Gakharia, Go Home” and red eye patches (showing solidarity to those injured during the riot control) with a sign of “20%” to refer the amount of Georgian land occupied by Russia. Along with protesting the Russian military occupation, the protesters demanded the resignation of Interior Minister (who was responsible for the riot control on June 20), the release of the detained protesters and conduct of proportional elections in 2020. The Government has agreed to two demands but the resignation of the Interior Minister.

Peaceful anti-occupation demonstrations continue till today, marking its 23rd day.The demonstrators demand the resignation of the Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia. They organize different activities to protest the Russian military occupation in Georgia and to remind the government to take full responsibility for the events taking place on June 20-21. After giving the floor to the Georgian writers, photographers, and singers, today at 19:00 the protesters will discuss Giorgi Gakharia’s interview with TV Pirveli at the rally titled “Gakharia’s lies”.

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