The President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, in terms of canceling the Pride Festival, states that the terms guaranteed by the constitution in the country have been violated.
At an emergency briefing, she stated that people were not allowed to hold a pre-planned event at the private territory.
“Today, in our country, the terms guaranteed by our constitution were violated. Everyone’s right to express an opinion should be protected, this is the 17th article of our constitution, together with the freedom of assembly, which is the 21st article. Today, both were violated, because people were not allowed to hold a pre-planned event at an agreed-upon place and conditions, for which the law enforcement structures had given a promise to protect, and thus, all necessary measures had to be taken.
I would like to underline that protecting the right to assembly means holding the event and not emptying the place as if safety could not be provided otherwise. In this form and with this motive, we can imagine that all the events, the form or content of which will not be acceptable for any radical group, will probably fail if the law enforcement authorities act in the way they acted today”, said the President.
According to her, it is alarming that the contraction was encouraged and openly supported by members of the ruling party.
“What is even more alarming here is the reality that this contraption was instigated, and openly supported by posts spread on social networks, not only by representatives of various branches of the ruling party but also directly by the party’s active deputies, as we saw today. So what should be the value of the urgent statements that we have just heard by the officials who are primarily in charge of protecting human rights, the Speaker of the Parliament and the Chairman of the Human Rights Committee, who assure us that they are defenders of rights – it means that they are saying one thing, but doing another”.
“Actually, by inciting these contractions and not condemning these actions or hate speech, the ruling party, the majority of the parliament, is encouraging the violence and should take the responsibility for all the results”, Zurabishvili said.
She called upon the Ministry of Internal Affairs to stop all violent actions, and the ruling team to stop using hate speech.
Today, on July 8, the final event of the Tbilisi Pride Week – the festival was supposed to be held at Lisi, but it was canceled due to safety risks.
According to Pride, “Today’s events indicate that the attack was pre-coordinated and agreed between the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the violent group Alt-Info”.