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Protest restrictions deemed unconstitutional by court

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, April 20
The President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, respects the decision made by the Constitutional court regarding the law of manifestations and assembly- a statement regarding the issue was made by the President’s spokesperson, Manana Manjgaladze, on April 19.

“The President respects the decision, whether we agree or not with the outcome we are obliged to respect the decision made by the court. This is an ordinary democratic process, ongoing in each democratic state, “Manjgaladze, said.

The authority representatives also respect the decision however they did not accept it, “we do not accept it and it is not under the constitution. We have a right not to approve something, this is our constitutional right. Who can judge whether a building is blocked or not?” MP, Khatuna Ochiauri, said. According to Majority MP, Pavle Kublashvili, the constitutional court has made such a decision, which was regarded as necessary by the judge, “however, those points of the decision, which describe some norms as non constitutional, are not shared by us. I would me more certain when I get familiarized with the arguments and formulation of the court.”

Unlike the authorities, for certain oppositional forces, the decision is the sign of the beginning of the destruction of a repressive regime, “Georgian society, non government sector and the constitutional court got significant profit from the decision, which increased its authority and the most aggressive wing of the National Movement has been defeated. Can you imagine how difficult it would be for the judge to make such a decision? This is the sign that a crack has appeared in this big repressive system and that it will fall soon, “Nika Laliashvili, from Christian- Democratic Movement, said.

This decision revealed who was competent and who was incompetent according to fellow representative of Christian-Democrats, Giorgi Akhvlediani, “this decision displayed who has violated the law for two years and has imprisoned people for even coming close to the Parliament building.”

Georgia’s Constitutional Court has partly satisfied the appeal of the Georgian opposition groups about the widely criticized Law on Manifestations and Assembly on April 18. According to the decision of the court, the norm banning manifestations within a 20 metre radius of the entrance of some institutions including courts was declared unconstitutional. The Court agreed with the position of the appellants that this kind of restriction “does not comply with the constitution, because in some cases, it makes it practically impossible to hold manifestations and gatherings.” At the same time the Constitutional Court concluded that the right of gathering can be restricted, when it hinders the functioning of the institution, or when the restriction is caused by special security measures.