Public Defender’s Statement on Protest Rally Underway in front of Parliament

The Public Defender of Georgia echoes the protest rally underway in front of the Parliament of Georgia and clarifies that the right to assembly and demonstration is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the Constitution, which is one of the necessary prerequisites for the existence of a free and democratic society and its development.

Only when a rally becomes violent and/or illegal, the authorities should use the measure of termination of the rally as a last resort, and the use of force within the framework of the aforementioned measure should meet the strict test of necessity and proportionality.

Proportionate use of coercive means by the police, including active special equipment (special batons, tear gas, acoustic devices, rubber bullets, water cannon, etc.) is allowed to achieve a legal goal within the scope of a necessity measure. In addition, it is mandatory to warn protesters in advance and to give them a reasonable time to fulfill the legal demands. The type and intensity of coercive measures should be determined taking into account the specific situation, the nature of the offence and the individual characteristics of the offender. It is important for the law enforcement officials to try to ensure that the damage is minimum and proportionate. It should be noted that the use of means that cause severe injuries is prohibited.

The Public Defender urges the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia not to use special equipment and disproportionate force against the participants of a peaceful rally, and calls on the participants not to go beyond the legal framework.

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